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A collection of articles lead or co-authored by Jeffrey Herrick, Soil Scientist at USDA-ARS, Jornada Experimental Range.

Description

We are currently working in four areas in cooperation with other Jornada, USGS and university scientists: arid-land ecosystem dynamics, restoration ecology, the development of inventory, assessment and monitoring protocols, and the development of strategies to increase the relevance of science to societal outcomes.

Our research on ecosystem dynamics is designed to increase our ability to stratify land based on its resilience in response to multiple stressors (including roads and off-highway vehicles activity) and to identify key processes and feedbacks associated with resilience. This work is in collaboration with the DoD, USGS, LTER, and BLM.

Our restoration work in cooperation with scientists at New Mexico State University focuses on modifying the distribution of water at multiple spatial scales, and on developing new strategies for using natural processes to disperse seeds to maximize the probability of establishment.

Our inventory, assessment and monitoring research addresses relationships between indicators and ecosystem services and functions, cost-effective statistical designs for multi-scale inventory and monitoring, the repeatability of different methods, the integration of field-based and remote sensing techniques, and the development of automated data entry systems, databases and decision support systems. This work is in cooperation with agencies and organizations throughout the world including Mexico, Honduras, Mongolia, and China. We are also cooperating with the NRCS and National Park Service to develop sampling protocols for dynamic soil properties.

We are working in cooperation with ARIDnet on an NSF-funded Research Cooperation Network to integrate biophysical and socioeconomic knowledge to address linked social and environmental challenges in the Americas, and with the Ecological Society of America and other organizations on the development of an Ecological Knowledge System.

latest article added on December 2013

ArticleFirst AuthorPublished
Variability in soil redistribution in the northern Chihuahuan Desert based on (137)Cesium measurementsRitchie, JC2003

Variability in soil redistribution in the northern Chihuahuan Desert based on (137)Cesium measurements

Keywords

cesium-137; Chihuahuan Desert; soil redistribution; mesquite; grassland

Abstract

A hypothesis for understanding the stability of northern Chihuahuan Desert landscapes is that the distribution of soil resources changes from spatially homogeneous in and grasslands to spatially heterogeneous in invading shrublands. Since radioactive fallout (137)Cesium (Cs-137) was deposited uniformly across the landscape during the 1950s and 1960s and was quickly adsorbed to soil particles, any redistribution of Cs-137 across the landscape would be due to soil redistribution or instability at either plant-interspaces or on a landscape scale. The concentration of (CS)-C-137 in soils collected from different vegetation communities (black grama grass, tarbush, tobosa grass, and mesquite) at the USDA-ARS Jornada Experimental Range in the Northern Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico was determined. At the black grama grass and tobosa grass sites, Cs-137 was uniformly distributed at the plant interspace scale. At the mesquite sites, Cs-137 was concentrated in the dune area under mesquite shrubs with little to no Cs-137 in the interdune areas. Cs-137 data support the hypothesis that significant soil redistribution has occurred at dune sites created by invading mesquite. In the and grassland-shrub sites with black grama grass, tobosa grass, and tarbush the Cs-137 data support the hypothesis of spatially homogeneous distribution of soil resources. High concentrations of Cs-137 in the biological soil crusts (0-5mm) at the tarbush sites indicate that biological soil crusts can contribute to the stability of these sites. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.

Authors

Ritchie, JC; Herrick, JE; Ritchie, CA

Year Published

2003

Publication

Journal of Arid Environments

Locations
DOI

10.1016/S0140-1963(02)00315-4

Assessing Transportation Infrastructure Impacts on Rangelands: Test of a Standard Rangeland Assessment ProtocolDuniway, Michael C.2010

Assessing Transportation Infrastructure Impacts on Rangelands: Test of a Standard Rangeland Assessment Protocol

Keywords

disturbance; indicators; off-highway vehicles; oil and gas; rangeland health; roads

Abstract

Linear disturbances associated with on-and off-road vehicle use on rangelands has increased dramatically throughout the world in recent decades. This increase is due to a variety of factors including increased availability of all-terrain vehicles, infrastructure development (oil, gas, renewable energy, and ex-urban), and recreational activities. In addition to the direct impacts of road development, the presence and use of roads may alter resilience of adjoining areas through indirect effects such as altered site hydrologic and eolian processes, invasive seed dispersal, and sediment transport. There are few standardized methods for assessing impacts of transportation-related land-use activities on soils and vegetation in arid and semi-arid rangelands. Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health (IIRH) is an internationally accepted qualitative assessment that is applied widely to rangelands. We tested the sensitivity of IIRH to impacts of roads, trails, and pipelines on adjacent lands by surveying plots at three distances from these linear disturbances. We performed tests at 16 randomly selected sites in each of three ecosystems (Northern High Plains, Colorado Plateau, and Chihuahuan Desert) for a total of 208 evaluation plots. We also evaluated the repeatability of IIRH when applied to road-related disturbance gradients. Finally, we tested extent of correlations between IIRH plot attribute departure classes and trends in a suite of quantitative indicators. Results indicated that the IIRH technique is sensitive to direct and indirect impacts of transportation activities with greater departure from reference condition near disturbances than far from disturbances. Trends in degradation of ecological processes detected with qualitative assessments were highly correlated with quantitative data. Qualitative and quantitative assessments employed in this study can be used to assess impacts of transportation features at the plot scale. Through integration with remote sensing technologies, these methods could also potentially be used to assess cumulative impacts of transportation networks at the landscape scale.

Authors

Duniway, Michael C.; Herrick, Jeffrey E.; Pyke, David A.; Toledo, David P.

Year Published

2010

Publication

Rangeland Ecology & Management

Locations
DOI

10.2111/REM-D-09-00176.1

Rangeland and pasture monitoring: an approach to interpretation of high-resolution imagery focused on observer calibration for repeatabilityDuniway, Michael C.2012

Rangeland and pasture monitoring: an approach to interpretation of high-resolution imagery focused on observer calibration for repeatability

Keywords

remote sensing, image interpretation, aerial photography, repeatability, assessment and monitoring, large-scale

Abstract

Collection of standardized assessment and monitoring data is critically important for supporting policy and management at local to continental scales. Remote sensing techniques, including image interpretation, have shown promise for collecting plant community composition and ground cover data efficiently. More work needs to be done, however, evaluating whether these techniques are sufficiently feasible, cost-effective, and repeatable to be applied in large programs. The goal of this study was to design and test an image-interpretation approach for collecting plant community composition and ground cover data appropriate for local and continental-scale assessment and monitoring of grassland, shrubland, savanna, and pasture ecosystems. We developed a geographic information system image-interpretation tool that uses points classified by experts to calibrate observers, including point-by-point training and quantitative quality control limits. To test this approach, field data and high-resolution imagery (∼3 cm ground sampling distance) were collected concurrently at 54 plots located around the USA. Seven observers with little prior experience used the system to classify 300 points in each plot into ten cover types (grass, shrub, soil, etc.). Good agreement among observers was achieved, with little detectable bias and low variability among observers (coefficient of variation in most plots  0.9), suggesting regression-based adjustments can be used to relate image and field data. This approach could extend the utility of expensive-to-collect field data by allowing it to serve as a validation data source for data collected via image interpretation.

Authors

Karl, Jason W., Duniway, Michael C., Schrader, Scott, Baquera, Noemi and Herrick, Jeffrey E.

Year Published

2012

Publication

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

Locations
DOI

10.1007/s10661-011-2224-2

Assessing Impacts of Roads: Application of a Standard Assessment ProtocolDuniway, Michael C.2013

Assessing Impacts of Roads: Application of a Standard Assessment Protocol

Keywords

adaptive management, assessment, monitoring, off-highway vehicles, oil and gas, rangeland health

Abstract

Adaptive management of road networks depends on timely data that accurately reflect the impacts those systems are having on ecosystem processes and associated services. In the absence of reliable data, land managers are left with little more than observations and perceptions to support management decisions of road-associated disturbances. Roads can negatively impact the soil, hydrologic, plant, and animal processes on which virtually all ecosystem services depend. The Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health (IIRH) protocol is a qualitative method that has been demonstrated to be effective in characterizing impacts of roads. The goal of this study were to develop, describe, and test an approach for using IIRH to systematically evaluate road impacts across large, diverse arid and semiarid landscapes. We developed a stratified random sampling approach to plot selection based on ecological potential, road inventory data, and image interpretation of road impacts. The test application on a semiarid landscape in southern New Mexico, United States, demonstrates that the approach developed is sensitive to road impacts across a broad range of ecological sites but that not all the types of stratification were useful. Ecological site and road inventory strata accounted for significant variability in the functioning of ecological processes but stratification based on apparent impact did not. Analysis of the repeatability of IIRH applied to road plots indicates that the method is repeatable but consensus evaluations based on multiple observers should be used to minimize risk of bias. Landscape-scale analysis of impacts by roads of contrasting designs (maintained dirt or gravel roads vs. non- or infrequently maintained roads) suggests that future travel management plans for the study area should consider concentrating traffic on fewer roads that are well designed and maintained. Application of the approach by land managers will likely provide important insights into minimizing impacts of road networks on key ecosystem services.

Authors

Duniway, Michael C. and Herrick, Jeffrey E.

Year Published

2013

Publication

Rangeland Ecology & Management

Locations
DOI

10.2111/rem-d-11-00130.1

The High Water-Holding Capacity of Petrocalcic HorizonsDuniway, Michael C.2007

The High Water-Holding Capacity of Petrocalcic Horizons

Keywords

CHIHUAHUAN DESERT, SOIL-QUALITY, REPLACEMENT, CALICHE, PLANTS, ROCK

Abstract

Petrocalcic soil horizons occur in most arid and semiarid ecosystems around the world, often within the plant rooting zone. Little is known, however, about the water-holding characteristic of soils indurated with CaCO3. We conducted a replicated experiment to define the soil-water release curve (SWRC) for a range of petrocalcic horizon materials. Samples from both plugged and laminar zones of two Stage V petrocalcic horizons in southern New Mexico were characterized. Wetter soil-water potentials were measured using a pressure plate; more negative potentials (down to less than < -10 MPa) were measured using a chilled mirror water activity meter. Measured SWRC data were fitted to the van Genuchten equation. The SWRC methods used were found to be both reliable and repeatable. Plant-available water-holding capacity (AWHC) for desert species (with wilting point set at -4.0 MPa) ranged from 0.26 m3 m-3 in plugged zones to 0.06 m3 m-3 in some laminar zones in contrast to about 0.07 m3 m-3 in the loamy sand parent material. Correlation analyses across morphologies of AWHC and soil properties resulted in significant statistical relationships only with bulk density and porosity. The AWHC and CaCO3 content, however, were significantly negatively correlated within the laminar and positively correlated within the plugged petrocalcic horizon morphologies. Cementation by CaCO3 dramatically alters the water-holding characteristics of soils and understanding these horizons is crucial to understand patterns of soil water in desert systems throughout the world.

Authors

Duniway, Michael C., Herrick, Jeffrey E. and Monger, H. Curtis

Year Published

2007

Publication

Soil Science Society of America Journal

Locations
DOI

10.2136/sssaj2006.0267

Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Rangelands: Current Applications and Future PotentialsRango, Albert2006

Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Rangelands: Current Applications and Future Potentials

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

High resolution aerial photographs have important rangeland applications, such as monitoring vegetation change, developing grazing strategies, determining rangeland health, and assessing remediation treatment effectiveness. Acquisition of high resolution images by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) has certain advantages over piloted aircraft missions, including lower cost, improved safety, flexibility in mission planning, and closer proximity to the target. Different levels of remote sensing data can be combined to provide more comprehensive information: 15–30 m resolution imaging from space-borne sensors for determining uniform landscape units; < 1 m satellite or aircraft data to assess the pattern of ecological states in an area of interest; 5 cm UAV images to measure gap and patch sizes as well as percent bare soil and vegetation ground cover; and < 1 cm ground-based boom photography for ground truth or reference data. Two parallel tracks of investigation are necessary: one that emphasizes the utilization of the most technically advanced sensors for research, and a second that emphasizes the minimization of costs and the maximization of simplicity for monitoring purposes. We envision that in the future, resource management agencies, rangeland consultants, and private land managers should be able to use small, lightweight UAVs to satisfy their needs for acquiring improved data at a reasonable cost, and for making appropriate management decisions.

Authors

Bestelmeyer, Brandon, Herrick, Jeffrey E., Laliberte, Andrea, Rango, Albert, Steele, Caiti, Schmugge, Thomas, Roanhorse, Abigail and Jenkins, Vince

Year Published

2006

Publication

Environmental Practice

Locations
DOI

10.1017/S1466046606060224

State-and-Transition Models for Heterogeneous Landscapes: A Strategy for Development and ApplicationBestelmeyer, Brandon T.2009

State-and-Transition Models for Heterogeneous Landscapes: A Strategy for Development and Application

Keywords

climate, dynamic soil properties, ecological sites, inventory, monitoring, quantile regression, soils, state-and-transition models, threshold

Abstract

Interpretation of assessment and monitoring data requires information about how reference conditions and ecological resilience vary in space and time. Reference conditions used as benchmarks are often specified via potential-based land classifications (e.g., ecological sites) that describe the plant communities potentially observed in an area based on soil and climate. State-and-transition models (STMs) coupled to ecological sites specify indicators of ecological resilience and thresholds. Although general concepts surrounding STMs and ecological sites have received increasing attention, strategies to apply and quantify these concepts have not. In this paper, we outline concepts and a practical approach to potential-based land classification and STM development. Quantification emphasizes inventory techniques readily available to natural resource professionals that reveal processes interacting across spatial scales. We recommend a sequence of eight steps for the co-development of ecological sites and STMs, including 1) creation of initial concepts based on literature and workshops; 2) extensive, low-intensity traverses to refine initial concepts and to plan inventory; 3) development of a spatial hierarchy for sampling based on climate, geomorphology, and soils; 4) stratified medium-intensity inventory of plant communities and soils across a broad extent and with large sample sizes; 5) storage of plant and soil data in a single database; 6) model-building and analysis of inventory data to test initial concepts; 7) support and/or refinement of concepts; and 8) high-intensity characterization and monitoring of states. We offer a simple example of how data assembled via our sequence are used to refine ecological site classes and STMs. The linkage of inventory to expert knowledge and site-based mechanistic experiments and monitoring provides a powerful means for specifying management hypotheses and, ultimately, promoting resilience in grassland, shrubland, savanna, and forest ecosystems.

Authors

Herrick, Jeffrey E., Bestelmeyer, Brandon T., Havstad, Kris M., Tugel, Arlene J., Peacock, George L., Robinett, Daniel G., Shaver, Pat L., Brown, Joel R. and Sanchez, Homer

Year Published

2009

Publication

Rangeland Ecology & Management

Locations
DOI

10.2111/08-146

Geographic searching for ecological studies: a new frontierKarl, Jason W.2013

Geographic searching for ecological studies: a new frontier

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

No abstract available

Authors

Karl, Jason W., Gillan, Jeffrey K. and Herrick, Jeffrey E.

Year Published

2013

Publication

Trends in Ecology & Evolution

Locations
    DOI

    10.1016/j.tree.2013.05.001

    Revolutionary Land Use Change in the 21st Century: Is (Rangeland) Science Relevant?Herrick, J. E.2012

    Revolutionary Land Use Change in the 21st Century: Is (Rangeland) Science Relevant?

    Keywords

    No keywords available

    Abstract

    Rapidly increasing demand for food, fiber, and fuel together with new technologies and the mobility of global capital are driving revolutionary changes in land use throughout the world. Efforts to increase land productivity include conversion of millions of hectares of rangelands to crop production, including many marginal lands with low resistance and resilience to degradation. Sustaining the productivity of these lands requires careful land use planning and innovative management systems. Historically, this responsibility has been left to agronomists and others with expertise in crop production. In this article, we argue that the revolutionary land use changes necessary to support national and global food security potentially make rangeland science more relevant now than ever. Maintaining and increasing relevance will require a revolutionary change in range science from a discipline that focuses on a particular land use or land cover to one that addresses the challenge of managing all lands that, at one time, were considered to be marginal for crop production. We propose four strategies to increase the relevance of rangeland science to global land management: 1) expand our awareness and understanding of local to global economic, social, and technological trends in order to anticipate and identify drivers and patterns of conversion; 2) emphasize empirical studies and modeling that anticipate the biophysical (ecosystem services) and societal consequences of large-scale changes in land cover and use; 3) significantly increase communication and collaboration with the disciplines and sectors of society currently responsible for managing the new land uses; and 4) develop and adopt a dynamic and flexible resilience-based land classification system and data-supported conceptual models (e.g., state-and-transition models) that represent all lands, regardless of use and the consequences of land conversion to various uses instead of changes in state or condition that are focused on a single land use.

    Authors

    Karl, Jason W., Herrick, J. E., Brown, J. R., Bestelmeyer, B. T., Andrews, S. S., Baldi, G., Davies, J., Duniway, M., Havstad, K. M., Karlen, D. L., Peters, D. P. C., Quinton, J. N., Riginos, C., Shaver, P. L., Steinaker, D. and Twomlow, S.

    Year Published

    2012

    Publication

    Rangeland Ecology & Management

    Locations
      DOI

      10.2111/REM-D-11-00186.1

      National ecosystem assessments supported by scientific and local knowledgeHerrick, Jeffrey E2010

      National ecosystem assessments supported by scientific and local knowledge

      Keywords

      No keywords available

      Abstract

      An understanding of the extent of land degradation and recovery is necessary to guide land-use policy and management, yet currently available land-quality assessments are widely known to be inadequate. Here, we present the results of the first statistically based application of a new approach to national assessments that integrates scientific and local knowledge. Qualitative observations completed at over 10 000 plots in the United States showed that while soil degradation remains an issue, loss of biotic integrity is more widespread. Quantitative soil and vegetation data collected at the same locations support the assessments and serve as a baseline for monitoring the effectiveness of policy and management initiatives, including responses to climate change. These results provide the information necessary to support strategic decisions by land managers and policy makers.

      Authors

      Herrick, Jeffrey E, Lessard, Veronica C, Spaeth, Kenneth E, Shaver, Patrick L, Dayton, Robert S, Pyke, David A, Jolley, Leonard and Goebel, J Jeffery

      Year Published

      2010

      Publication

      Frontiers In Ecology And The Environment

      Locations
        DOI

        10.1890/100017

        This article contributed by:

        Ecological Society of America

        Recent Articles

        Interpretation of High-Resolution Imagery for Detecting Woodland Cover Composition Change After Fuels Reduction Treatments

        by Karl, Jason W., Gillan, Jeffrey K., Barger, Nichole N., Herrick, Jeffrey E. and Duniway, Michael

        The use of very high resolution (VHR; ground sampling distances &lt; ~5cm) aerial imagery to estimate site vegetation cover and to detect changes from management has been well documented. However, as the purpose of monitoring is to document change over time, the ability to detect changes from imagery at the same or better level of accuracy and precision as those measured in situ must be assesse...

        published 2014 in Ecological Indicators

        Interpretation of High-Resolution Imagery for Detecting Woodland Cover Composition Change After Fuels Reduction Treatments

        by Karl, Jason W., Gillan, Jeffrey K., Barger, Nichole N., Herrick, Jeffrey E. and Duniway, Michael C.

        The use of very high resolution (VHR; ground sampling distances &lt; ~5cm) aerial imagery to estimate site vegetation cover and to detect changes from management has been well documented. However, as the purpose of monitoring is to document change over time, the ability to detect changes from imagery at the same or better level of accuracy and precision as those measured in situ must be assesse...

        published 2014 in Ecological Indicators


        Ecological Site-Based Assessments of Wind and Water Erosion: Informing Accelerated Soil Erosion Management in Rangelands

        by Webb, Nicholas P., Herrick, Jeffrey E. and Duniway, Michael C.

        Accelerated soil erosion occurs when anthropogenic processes modify soil, vegetation, or climatic conditions causing erosion rates at a location to exceed their natural variability. Identifying where and when accelerated erosion occurs is a critical first step toward its effective management. Here we explored how erosion assessments structured in the context of ecological sites (a land classifi...

        published 2014 in Ecological Applications

        Assessing Impacts of Roads: Application of a Standard Assessment Protocol

        by Duniway, Michael C. and Herrick, Jeffrey E.

        Adaptive management of road networks depends on timely data that accurately reflect the impacts those systems are having on ecosystem processes and associated services. In the absence of reliable data, land managers are left with little more than observations and perceptions to support management decisions of road-associated disturbances. Roads can negatively impact the soil, hydrologic, plant,...

        published 2013 in Rangeland Ecology & Management