Location

University of Nevada Las Vegas, Greenspun Hall (first & second floor lobby)

Description

There is a great deal of uncertainty as to how biological communities respond to changes in land use and climate change, a situation particularly relevant in protected areas such as national parks that were designated to conserve specific biological features. Utilizing extant vegetation data sets with repeatable methodology can provide opportunities for insight into previous vegetation change and provide base line data for long-term monitoring projects useful for modeling vegetation community trajectories. We have relocated and resurveyed 106 sites from a vegetation community study initiated in 1979 in the Newberry Mountains, southern Nevada, within Lake Mead National Recreation Area managed by the National Park Service. The original methods were repeated and used to establish permanent long-term monitoring plots. All perennial plant species were measured for density, frequency and cover within each plot. In comparing 1979 and 2008 data sets we wanted to know if changes have occurred in the vegetation community and if the degree of change differs along environmental gradients and among individual species.

Keywords

Climate change; Lake Mead National Recreation Area; Mojave desert; Mojave-Sonora desert boundary; Plant communities; Plant diversity; Vegetation changes

Disciplines

Desert Ecology | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Monitoring | Plant Sciences | Systems Biology

Language

English

 
Apr 15th, 1:00 PM Apr 15th, 2:30 PM

29 years of vegetation community change across environmental gradients in a Mojave Desert mountain range

University of Nevada Las Vegas, Greenspun Hall (first & second floor lobby)

There is a great deal of uncertainty as to how biological communities respond to changes in land use and climate change, a situation particularly relevant in protected areas such as national parks that were designated to conserve specific biological features. Utilizing extant vegetation data sets with repeatable methodology can provide opportunities for insight into previous vegetation change and provide base line data for long-term monitoring projects useful for modeling vegetation community trajectories. We have relocated and resurveyed 106 sites from a vegetation community study initiated in 1979 in the Newberry Mountains, southern Nevada, within Lake Mead National Recreation Area managed by the National Park Service. The original methods were repeated and used to establish permanent long-term monitoring plots. All perennial plant species were measured for density, frequency and cover within each plot. In comparing 1979 and 2008 data sets we wanted to know if changes have occurred in the vegetation community and if the degree of change differs along environmental gradients and among individual species.