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Harvard Forest REU Symposium Abstract 2021

  • Title: Agricultural and rangeland land use history in NEON sites
  • Author: Joseph G Toman (University of California (All Campuses))
  • Abstract:

    The effort to understand and assess the changes our landscapes and climate have and continue to undergo has grown. Especially within the past decade, instrumentation, national and global data networks, and the accessibility to the big environmental data these resources produce have far outpaced the rate in which data is being analyzed and understood. To be able to accurately forecast these ecosystem processes, the extent of anthropogenic alteration must be understood as well. This study attempted to contextualize current landscape dynamics through an examination of agricultural and rangeland land use in select NEON sites and analyze their impact on site vegetation biomass and diversity. To do this, this study looked at grazing intensity in different pastures and the change in the percent cover of mesquite and native perennial grasses. The trend was seen that the greater and more recent the grazing, the more drastic the shift of percent cover from native perennial grasses to mesquite. This study is crucial to understand our environment and bridge the land use knowledge gap in large environmental data networks, such as NEON, which tend to revolve around relatively recent inputs and require further intersectional analysis. Furthermore, this study compares the consistency of large observatory networks like NEON with long term data that has been collected from the local sites.

  • Research Category: Ecological Informatics and Modelling; Group Projects; Invasive Plants, Pests & Pathogens