Riparian Restoration and Management of Arid and Semiarid Watersheds
AuthorBunting, Daniel Paul
AdvisorPapuga, Shirley A.
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.
AbstractRiparian ecosystems are valued for ecosystem services which have impacts on the well-being of humans and the environment. Anthropogenic disturbances along rivers in arid and semiarid regions have altered historical flow regimes and compromised their integrity. Many rivers are hydroecologically deteriorated, have diminished native riparian forests, and are pressured for their water supplies. My first study is founded on the premise that river restoration has increased exponentially with little documentation on effectiveness. We designed a conference to discuss lessons learned from past restoration activities to benefit future efforts. Participants, including scientists, managers, and practitioners, agreed that creating measureable objectives with subsequent monitoring is essential for quantifying success and employing adaptive management. Attendees stated that current projects are local and have limited funding and time, whereas future efforts must have longer funding cycles, larger timeframes, should contribute to regional goals, and address factors responsible for ecological decline. Bridging gaps among science, management, and policy in the 21st century is a key component to success. My second study focused on the benefits of long-term monitoring of local riparian restoration. Many efforts include revegetation components to re-establish native cottonwood-willow communities, but do not address how high-density establishment impacts vegetation dynamics and sustainability. Over five years, we documented significantly higher growth rates, lower mortality, and higher cover in cottonwood compared to non-native tamarisk. Cottonwood height, diameter at breast height, growth rates, and foliar volumes were reduced at higher densities. Herbaceous species decreased every year but native shrubs volunteered after two years resulting in a reduction of overall plant diversity from 2007-2009 with a slight increase from 2009-2011.My third study focused on improving basin-scale evapotranspiration (ET), a large component of the water budget, to better inform water resource allocation. My research suggests that multiple models are required for basin-scale ET estimates due to vegetation variability across water-limitation gradients. We created two empirical models using remote sensing, a multiplicative riparian ET model (r²=0.92) using MODIS nighttime land surface temperature (LST(n)) and enhanced vegetation index, and an upland ET model (r²=0.77) using multiple linear regression replacing LST(n) with a precipitation input.
Degree ProgramGraduate College