Dryland Riparian Ecosystems in the American Southwest: Sensitivity and Resilience to Climatic Extremes
Drylands make up over 40% of the earth’s land surface (Noy-Meir 1973; Reynolds and others 2007). In these arid and semiarid landscapes, surface and subsurface water flows create mesic riparian environments (Kingsford 2006; Stromberg and Tellman 2009). Dryland riparian areas sustain water-limited plants and animals that cannot withstand upland conditions year-round, thereby supporting regional diversity (Sabo and others 2005; Lite and others 2005). Dryland rivers are also characterized by occasional large, high-intensity floods that rework the bed geomorphology and increase riparian heterogeneity. This combined variation in water availability and flood disturbance creates spatiotemporally complex and unique landscapes (Soykan and Sabo 2009; Soykan and others 2012).
The hydrology of desert riparian ecosystems has been extensively altered by human activities including stream diversion and groundwater extraction, and is expected to undergo further change in response to...
KeywordsRiparian Zone Riparian Plant Riparian Ecosystem Behavioral Coping Riparian Plant Community
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