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Keyword: soil moisture

Forest productivity varies with soil moisture more than temperature in a small montane watershed

Publications Posted on: October 04, 2018
Mountainous terrain creates variability in microclimate, including nocturnal cold air drainage and resultant temperature inversions. Driven by the elevational temperature gradient, vapor pressure deficit (VPD) also varies with elevation. Soil depth and moisture availability often increase from ridgetop to valley bottom. These variations complicate predictions of forest productivity and other biological responses.

High soil temperature data archive

Projects Posted on: June 07, 2018
High Soil Temperature Data Archive - From Prescribed Fires and Wildfires across the Western US.

The complexities behind restoration and reforestation efforts

Science Spotlights Posted on: July 24, 2017
Restoration and reforestation using nursery-produced seedlings can be an effective means of increasing successful establishment and rapid growth following outplanting. This, in turn, can accelerate the recovery trajectory of these ecosystems. However, in many ecosystems of the world, seasonal changes as well as changing climate can create dry conditions that are not favorable to seedling establishment.

Bark beetle-induced tree mortality alters stand energy budgets due to water budget changes

Publications Posted on: December 30, 2016
Insect outbreaks are major disturbances that affect a land area similar to that of forest fires across North America. The recent mountain pine bark beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreak and its associated blue stain fungi (Grosmannia clavigera) are impacting water partitioning processes of forests in the Rocky Mountain region as the spatially heterogeneous disturbance spreads across the landscape.

Stocktype and grass suppression accelerate the restoration trajectory of Acacia koa in Hawaiian montane ecosystems

Publications Posted on: March 29, 2016
Restoring degraded mesic-montane forests represents a major challenge in maintaining functioning ecosystems throughout the tropics. A key example of this lies in Hawai‘i, where restoring native koa (Acacia koa, A. Gray) forests are a top conservation and forestry priority because of the critical habitat and high-value timber products that they provide.

Fire and fire-surrogate study: Soil moisture availability

Projects Posted on: December 15, 2015
Forests in the western United States are more dense and have more down fuels now than under historic conditions, mostly due to anthropogenic influences such as grazing and fire-suppression. Managers have recognized this problem and have acted to reduce stem density and fuels by thinning, burning, and/or fuel treatments. This Fire and Fire-Surrogate (FFS) study evaluates prescribed fire, thinning, and various mechanical treatment methods for treating, removing, or using woody biomass.

Prescribed fire, soil inorganic nitrogen dynamics, and plant responses in a semiarid grassland

Publications Posted on: October 05, 2015
In arid and semiarid ecosystems, fire can potentially affect ecosystem dynamics through changes in soil moisture, temperature, and nitrogen cycling, as well as through direct effects on plant meristem mortality. We examined effects of annual and triennial prescribed fires conducted in early spring on soil moisture, temperature, and N, plant growth, and plant N content in semiarid shortgrass steppe.

Modeling soil heating and moisture evaporation during fires

Projects Posted on: April 14, 2015
Increasing use of prescribed fire by land managers and increasing likelihood of wildfires due to climate change creates a need to improve tools modelling extreme heating of soils during fires. Rocky Mountain Research scientist William Massman addressed this issue by developing and testing of a novel numerical model of soil evaporation and transport of heat, soil moisture, and water vapor under extreme conditions produced by wildfires.

Linkages between grazing history and herbivore exclusion on decomposition rates in mineral soils of subalpine grasslands

Publications Posted on: September 27, 2013
Herbivore-driven changes to soil properties can influence the decomposition rate of organic material and therefore soil carbon cycling within grassland ecosystems. We investigated how aboveground foraging mammalian and invertebrate herbivores affect mineral soil decomposition rates and associated soil properties in two subalpine vegetation types (shortgrass and tall-grass) with different grazing histories.

Biodiversity effects on ecosystem function due to land use: The case of buffel savannas in the Sky Islands Seas in the central region of Sonora

Publications Posted on: September 16, 2013
Buffel savannas have been an important landscape on cattle grazing ranches in Sonora over the past 50 years or more. Changes in land use result in biodiversity changes that may produce ecosystem functional changes; however, these are less well documented. Although fire driven processes have been proposed for Buffel savannas, this is not generally the case, and other processes seem to be driving ecosystem function.

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