IGN 15-4 - The real problem confronting deserts associated with global change

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
C123, Oregon Convention Center
Travis E. Huxman, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA
Deserts are influenced by biological and physical feedbacks that create resilient structure, such as how soil development and plant identity interact to form features like banded vegetation, islands of fertility, or fairy circles. Interrupting such life-environment feedbacks is likely to profoundly change desert ecosystems. While substantial changes in precipitation, CO2, temperature, and species invasions can disrupt these feedbacks, land use pressures of human populations near or in these lands is a ubiquitous stressor presenting substantial risk. Unfortunately, such risk is exacerbated by philosophies of managing desert systems so as to ‘green these wastelands’, a motivation repeated in many programs historically.