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Interactions of cattle grazing and climate change on semi-arid ecosystem function


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The data set is a multi-sheet spreadsheet containing of measurements of soil, plant, and microbiotic crust parameters collected at 18 sites in the Great Basin. Data are collected along transects within piospheres (waterhole/grazing gradients). Data consist of Daubenmire plant cover, shrub cover (line intercept), leaf area index, plant biomass (clip & weigh), grass utilization, species list, plant tissue samples nutrient analysis and C/N isotope analysis, cow pie count, microbiotic crust cover, nitrogenase activity, chlorophyll a in soil, soil N/C isotopes, soil chemical and physical parameters, above-ground insects, and soil microarthropods. Data collection began in 2000 and ended in 2002.


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The rationale of the project is to quantify ecosystem effects of cattle grazing and trampling on semi-arid rangelands in the Great Basin. This is being done in the NW Great Basin, where precipitation mostly occurs during winter and spring, and in the SE Great Basin, where precipitation occurs bimodally in winter and summer. Climate models predict a shift toward bimodal precipitation in the NW Great Basin later this century. We hope to provide modeled predictions of ecosystem effects of cattle use by comparing the data collected in the two regions.

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