|Desert Grassland Site|
Tower Site Descriptions
This tower (34.36233 N, -106.701950 W) is located in the northern Chihuahuan Desert of the Rio Grande Valley.on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR) and LTER site, approximately 80 km south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is in the McKenzie flats area of the SNWR in an extensive semi-arid grassland dominated by C4 perennial grasses (Bouteloua gracilis, B. eriopoda, Sporobolis spp., Hilaria jamesii, Muhlenbergia spp.). Total vegetation cover at this site (live plus litter) averages 60% with 40% bare soil.
Mean annual precipitation (1989-2005) is 250 mm, about 60% of which comes in isolated, short duration showers during the monsoon season (July – September); the remainder arrives with winter frontal systems, although with considerable year-to-year variation (Pennington and Collins 2007). Aboveground net primary production (ANPP) in Bouteloua grasslands in this area of the SNWR averages 51.1 g m-2 y-1 (Muldavin et al. 2007).
This tower was originally set up by Eric Small as part of the BIGFOOT project in 2001. We have been running the tower since January 2006.
It is currently funded by NSF EPSCoR, and by an award from NSF Ecosystems (2008-2011), Do vegetation microclimate feedbacks promote shrub encroachment in the Southwestern U.S.?. This is a collaborative proposal between University of VA (Paolo D'Orico, Jose Fuentes, Stephen DeWekker) and UNM (Litvak, Will Pockman, Scott Collins).
Desert Grassland Site Vegetation
Desert Grassland Site Tower View
Desert Grassland Site Aerial Veiw
© 2008 Marcy Litvak
Last Updated: January 14, 2008
For more information please contact: Dr. Marcy Litvak
Created by: Kimberly Bandy, January 2008