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An overview of the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership Science and Research Synthesis [Chapter 1]

Posted date: September 09, 2013
Publication Year: 
2013
Authors: Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Turner, Kent; Raish, Carol B.; Ostoja, Steven M.
Publication Series: 
General Technical Report (GTR)
Source: In: Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Pendleton, Burton K.; Raish, Carol B., eds. The Southern Nevada Agency Partnership Science and Research Synthesis: Science to support land management in Southern Nevada. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-303. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 1-15.
Note: This article is part of a larger document.

Abstract

Southern Nevada is characterized by an arid to semi-arid environment with numerous cultural resources and a high level of biological diversity. Since 1980, the human population of the region has increased at unprecedented rates largely due to the expansion of suburban areas (Hughson 2009). The various human activities associated with this growth and the interactions of those activities with the generally dry and highly variable climate result in numerous stresses to ecosystems, species, and cultural resources. In addition, climate models predict that the rate of temperature increase and, thus, changes in ecological processes, will be highest for ecosystems with low topographic variability including deserts like the Mojave (Loarie and others 2009). These stresses vary in scale and can be characterized as global (e.g., large scale climatic processes and fluctuations), regional (e.g., atmospheric pollution sources from the southwest), and local (e.g., land use practices) (Fenstermaker and others 2009; Chapter 2). Although global and regional stresses have long-term and lasting effects, local stresses are often the most apparent. Human development in the region is increasing the number of roads and utility corridors, resulting in dust generation and desert trash, and causing an expansion of recreational activities. Past and present grazing by livestock, wild horses, and burros is having widespread effects on native vegetation. The spread of invasive non-native plants is altering fire regimes and causing the conversion of native ecosystems to invasive plant dominance. Groundwater pumping and water diversions coupled with invasive aquatic organisms are degrading many of the region’s spring, stream, and riparian ecosystems. The cumulative effects of these stresses are placing the region’s cultural and biological resources at risk, and causing the loss of habitat for the region’s native plant and animal species. There are multiple species of concern in the region, 17 of which are already listed as threatened. Maintaining and restoring the complex variety of ecosystems and resources that occur in southern Nevada in the face of such rapid socio-economic and ecological change presents numerous challenges to Federal land managers.

Citation

Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Turner, Kent; Raish, Carol B.; Ostoja, Steven M. 2013. An overview of the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership Science and Research Synthesis [Chapter 1]. In: Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brooks, Matthew L.; Pendleton, Burton K.; Raish, Carol B., eds. The Southern Nevada Agency Partnership Science and Research Synthesis: Science to support land management in Southern Nevada. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-303. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 1-15.