Texas Tech Presents the Dynamics of Desert Ecosystems and Soil Erosion

The International Center for Arid and Semiarid Land Studies (ICASALS) at Texas Tech University is hosting Tony Parsons of The University of Sheffield in England, who is an international expert of drylands ecosystems.

Parsons will speak on "The Dynamics of Desert Ecosystems: Geomorphological Consequences and Modeling of Processes" from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, (Oct. 28) in the Escondido Theatre, basement of the Student Union Building on the Texas Tech campus.

Many of the world's drylands have experienced a change in vegetation cover during the past century or so. For the land in the American Southwest, this has been documented to show that woody shrubs are taking over grasslands, which can cause profound changes in how water runs off the land and leads to nutrient loss and sediment erosion - an important concern for the farmers and ranchers of Lubbock and the region. Hill slope processes such as water run-off can have enormous impact on the nutrients in the soil of the desert environment, and result in long-term change.

Parsons has developed a model to help explain the dynamics of desert ecosystems based on the concept of landscape connectivity - the degree to which the landscape can help or hinder movement of water runoff from one place to another. The model mimics the patterns of vegetation response and provides a tool for further investigation of the drivers of vegetation changes in drylands and the development of remediation measures.

This model may be able to help farmers and ranchers in the Southwest develop land management skills to help maintain the nutrient content of their land and to reduce erosion. It provides a tool for further investigation of the drivers of vegetation changes in drylands, and the development of remediation measures.

CONTACT: Dr. A.C. Corrêa, director, ICASALS, at (806) 742-2218 or ac.correa@ttu.edu.