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Research by Topic

Ecology, Management and Restoration of Riparian Ecosystems

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Riparian ecosystems in the central Great Basin support much of the region’s biodiversity but are often highly degraded because of active stream incision or down cutting. The Great Basin Ecology Laboratory is studying the underlying geomorphic, hydrologic and vegetation processes influencing the streams and riparian ecosystems. We also are examining the causes of the degradation, including the effects of climate change and anthropogenic disturbance. We are using a process-based understanding of these ecosystems to develop approaches for their management and restoration. More...

Managing Piñon, Juniper and Sagebrush Ecosystems

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Piñon and juniper woodlands are valuable native ecosystems, but piñon and juniper trees are expanding into sagebrush ecosystems throughout much of their range. Expansion of the competitive trees results in depletion of the sagebrush understory, higher fuel loads, and increased fire severity and size. The Great Basin Ecology Lab is studying factors influencing the rate and magnitude of tree expansion, the effects of tree expansion on the resilience of sagebrush ecosystems, and the use of fire and fire surrogate treatments to both decrease fuel loads and maintain sustainable sagebrush ecosystems. More...

Resistance and Resilience to Annual Grass Invasion

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Non-native annual grasses are invading sagebrush ecosystems, increasing the continuity of fine fuels, and causing larger and more frequent fires. The Great Basin Ecology Laboratory is examining the environmental and ecological factors that make Great Basin ecosystems resistant to invasion and expansion of cheatgrass and resilient to fire. We are developing management approaches for both increasing ecological resistance to cheatgrass and restoring native ecosystems. More...