Water Balance Calculations and Net Production of Perennial Vegetation in the Northern Mojave Desert
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CitationLane, L. J., Romney, E. M., & Hakonson, T. E. (1984). Water balance calculations and net production of perennial vegetation in the northern Mojave Desert. Journal of Range Management, 37(1), 12-18.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractMeasurements obtained between 1968 and 1976 indicate the influence of climatic factors and soil characteristics upon soil moisture and production of perennial vegetation in the northern Mojave Desert. Seasonal distribution patterns of precipitation are shown to have a strong effect on plant-available soil moisture, and these patterns are, in turn, reflected in net production of perennial vegetation. Available climatic data and soil characteristics were used as input to a continuous simulation model to calculate the water balance for a unit area watershed. Computed and measured soil moisture agreed quite well over a range of values from close to the wilting point to near field capacity. We used computed evapotranspiration rates to estimate water use by perennial vegetation. Computed water use was multiplied by a water use efficiency factor to estimate net production of perennial vegetation. Estimated net production exhibited year-to-year variability comparable with measured values, and agreed quite closely with available observations. This paper briefly describes soil-water-plant relationships in the northern Mojave Desert and illustrates an application of a continuous simulation model to predict soil moisture and net production of perennial vegetation. Based on our analysis, the simulation model would appear to have potential for estimating the water balance and above ground net primary production on arid and semiarid rangelands.