A system for multi-scale data collection and analysis for research and management.
Chong, Geneva*,1, 2, Barnett, David2, Carpenter, Donald1, 2, Roblee-Hertzmark, Ian1, 2, 1 US Geological Survey, Bozeman, MT2 Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Fort Collins, CO
ABSTRACT- Inventory and monitoring are critical components for management of natural resource values because the data collected provide ways to communicate change in a system and indicate if desired management objectives are being met. We are working with a team of US Geological Survey scientists, in coordination with the US Bureau of Land Management and others, to examine the distributions of native and non-native vegetation and biological soil components and their interactions with landscape variables (e.g., topography and geology) and off-highway vehicle (OHV) disturbance on the mancos shale portion of the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, Colorado, USA. We are implementing a multi-scale data collection and analysis system that allows the researcher to use the data to answer basic science questions such as: what role do biological soil crusts play in the physical stabilization of the soil surface? And then interact with the managers to extrapolate these findings (e.g., total biological soil crust cover is correlated with soil surface strength, determined by a slake test; Pearson Correlation Coef. = 0.61) to estimate possible outcomes from various management decisions (e.g., a reduction in OHV-disturbed soil surface would result in a corresponding reduction of soil erosion). In this example, erosion management is critical because it is a component of the movement of salts and selenium into the Colorado River. Other management questions we are investigating include non-native plant species locations (non-native vegetation cover is correlated with total soil nitrogen, percent clay size particles in the top 5 cm of soil, and the cover of native species; regression tree analysis PRE = 0.433) and the habitat requirements of endemic plant species. Ultimately, correlations between multi-scale plot data and remotely sensed data are used to extrapolate point data to a surface of interest to estimate variable values and management outcomes.
Key words: invasive species, off-highway vehicles, mancos shale, adaptive management
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