Ecology, Management and Restoration of Riparian Ecosystems
Many riparian ecosystems in the central Great Basin are severely degraded due to the effects of stream incision (down cutting) on stream processes and riparian ecosystems. The Great Basin Ecology Laboratory is studying (1) the underlying geomorphic, hydrologic and vegetation processes structuring these ecosystems, and (2) the causes of degradation – specifically, climate change and human-induced disturbance. We are using a basic understanding of the processes influencing these ecosystems and causes of degradation to determine the most effective methods for their management and restoration. The spatial scales addressed include the watershed, riparian corridor, and stream reach or riparian ecosystem, while the temporal scales include the mid-late Holocene (last 5,000 years), post-settlement (after 1860) and present. The research is highly interdisciplinary in nature and currently represents a cooperative effort among the US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and Environmental Protection Agencies’ Office of Research and Development. Collaborators include the University of Nevada, Reno, Western Carolina University, University of Tennessee and Lafayette College.