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Jornada Basin LTER - JRN


LTER Sites > Jornada Basin LTER

NSF Award(s) DEB-8114466 , DEB-9411971 , DEB-0080412 , DEB-0618210 (View all sites)

The overall goal of the Jornada Basin LTER (JRN) program is to quantify the key factors and processes that control ecosystem dynamics and biotic patterns in Chihuahuan Desert landscapes. These landscapes are representative of many arid and semiarid ecosystems of the world where dramatic changes in vegetation structure and ecosystem processes have occurred over the past several centuries. These changes in ecosystem state are often interpreted as “desertification”, the broad-scale conversion of perennial grasslands to dominance by xerophytic woody plants and the associated loss of soils and biological resources, including biodiversity. The JRN LTER has been investigating desertification processes since 1982. Significant advances in understanding the causes and consequences of desertification have been made at specific spatial scales and for certain environmental conditions.
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Contact Information
Site Contacts
Principal Investigator: Debra Peters
Primary Contact: John Anderson
Information Mgr: Ken Ramsey
Education Contact: Stephanie Bestelmeyer
Graduate Student Representative: Adam Schreiner-McGraw
Social Science Representative:
Climate Science Representative: John Anderson
Communication Representative:
New Mexico State University
Jornada Experimental Range
Box 30003/MSC 3JER
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001 USA
Phone: (575) 646-4842
Fax: (575) 646-5665
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Site History
The Jornada Basin Long Term Ecological Research Program (JRN LTER) has been investigating desertification processes since 1982. Significant progress has been made in understanding the causes and consequences of desertification, although key questions remain unresolved, including (1) How do we integrate diverse observations about flora, fauna, soils, hydrology, climate, and human populations across spatial and temporal scales to improve our ability to understand current and historic patterns and dynamics? (2) How do processes interact across a range of scales and under different conditions to drive desertification dynamics and constrain the conservation of biological resources? (3) How can we use knowledge of desertification dynamics to more effectively promote the conservation of biological resources and the recovery of grasslands? This integration is the focus of current LTER studies.
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Research Topics
desertification; nonlinear dynamics; threshold behavior; cross-scale interactions; cascading events; ecosystem indicators and vegetation dynamics; geomorphology and wind; ecohydrology; animal interactions; factors affecting primary production; animal-induced soil disturbances; direct and indirect consumer effects; vertebrate and invertebrate population dynamics; grazing effects on ecosystem structure and function; biodiversity and ecosystem
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Institutional Affiliations Research Sites
Site Location
Lat: +32.61785 | Long. -106.73985

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Climate Info.
Annual High Mean Low
Temperature c 17.2c c
Precipitation mm/year 298 mm/year mm/year