Development of a Data-Based Validation Network for State-and-Transition Models
Great Basin shrub steppe ecosystems are one target ecosystem for this project. Researchers will use the Long-Term Vegetation (LTV) monitoring data from the INL Site to evaluate state-and transition models constructed for this ecosystem. They will characterize Ecological Sites at the Long-Term Vegetation Transects to facilitate this analysis.
This project seeks to assess the construction rules and ecological validity of U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service-approved state-and-transition models by comparing them to empirical models that will be constructed from long-term ecological data and related information for major Ecological Sites throughout the Great Plains and West. This research approach will enable researchers to (1) explore new protocols to construct stateand- transition models that are based on empirical, long-term ecological data, (2) evaluate the ecological validity of existing qualitative state-and-transition models for representative Ecological 9.16 INL Site Environmental Report Sites by comparing them to recently constructed data-based models, and (3) investigate rules and assumptions associated with construction of state-and-transition models to improve their consistency and ecological validity.
In August and September 2010, Jornada Experimental Range staff characterized soil profi les at 59 LTV plots cleared the previous summer. At each site, select soil properties were described in the fi eld for the A horizon(s), B1 horizon, and one or more diagnostic subsurface horizons. Soil properties recorded for each sampled horizon included top and bottom depths, coarse fragment content, hand texture, percent clay (estimated), effervescence, structure, stage of pedogenic carbonate development, and hue/value/chroma. Additional data were collected at each site in order to describe basic topographic, soil, and ecological conditions at the time of soil sampling. These data were based on a 20 x 20 m square plot centered on the soil pit and included community phase, parent material, landform, slope component, percent slope, aspect, slope complexity, slope shape, soil depth, soil surface fragment cover, pedoderm class, resource retention measures, and soil redistribution class.