Differential Response of Wind and Water Erosion under Climatic Extremes and Alternate Land Management Practices
AuthorField, Jason Paul
AdvisorBreshears, David D.
Committee ChairBreshears, David D.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractWind erosion and associated dust emissions play a fundamental role in many ecological processes, yet most ecological studies do not explicitly consider dust-driven processes despite the growing body of evidence suggesting that wind erosion is a key driver of land surface dynamics and many other environmentally relevant processes such as desertification. This study provides explicit support for a pervasive underlying but untested desertification hypothesis by showing that at the vegetation patch scale shrubs are significantly more efficient at capturing wind-blown sediment and other resources such as nutrients than grasses and that this difference is amplified following disturbance. At the landscape scale, the spacing and shape of woody plants were found to be a major determinant of dryland aeolian sediment transport processes in grasslands, shrublands, woodlands and forests, particularly following disturbance. This study also found that disturbance such as fire can have a significant influence on background dust emissions, which can have important consequences for many basic ecological and hydrological processes. Potential interactions between aeolian and fluvial processes were also evaluated in this study, and a new conceptual framework was developed that highlights important differences and similarities between the two processes as a function of scale-dependencies, mean annual precipitation, and disturbance. This study also explicitly evaluates the effect of climatic extremes and alternate land management practices on the absolute and relative magnitudes of wind and water erosion. Notably, results indicate that wet/dry climatic extremes and grazing can increase the wind-to-water erosion ratio, whereas burning disproportionally increases water erosion relative to wind erosion.
Degree ProgramNatural Resources