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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Great Basin Ecological Site Development

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Project Number: 5370-13610-001-01
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 01, 2012
End Date: Dec 31, 2014

Objective:
The University of Nevada at Reno, under the direction of a UNR professor and scientist, is undertaking a cooperative project with the Agricultural Research Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop state-and-transition models appropriate for describing the ecological dynamics of ecological sites located within Major Land Resource Areas (MLRA) 28A and 28B in Nevada. These models will describe the ecological response to a variety of disturbances associated with rangelands and also will be utilized to document the status of knowledge regarding the effect of conservation practices applied to rangelands within the Great Basin. The primary purpose is to construct state-of-the-art ecological dynamics models that will provide the platform for management decisions and generation of hypotheses for testing threshold and restoration concepts. The work will focus on the development of robust state-and-transition models for each of the 160 ecological sites within MLRA 28A and 28B. These models are a critical component of the Ecological Site Description and are utilized by the Natural Resource Conservation Service, United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for planning and implementation of conservation practices and management actions.

Approach:
The University of Nevada at Reno will assist in synthesizing the appropriate literature to document the effect of conservation practices on five basic resource concerns; (1) water availability, (2) water quality, (3) Soil quality, (4) Net Primary Productivity, and (5) habitat/landscape fragmentation for the Great Basin to develop the Ecological Site Descriptions. The partnership will do field work to collect data to document that concepts expressed for each Ecological Site Description is valid. They will also assist in developing an experimental watershed (Porter Canyon) in central Nevada where impacts of conservation practices can be quantified at both the hillslope and watershed scales.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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