Improving paleoecology studies for future predictions: role of spatial and temporal scales for understanding ecology of the arid and semiarid landscape of the Southwest

Open-File Report 2014-1029
Prepared for the Southwest Climate Summit 2012
By: , and 

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Abstract

Paleoecology (or ecological biogeography) describes the past distribution of species or communities and is an informative path used to understand the future in the face of climate change. Paleoecological changes in the Southwest over the past several thousand years happened in the presence of landscape manipulations by humans, a factor that adds relevance but increases difficulty of interpretation. What paleo-records are needed for (1) understanding past climate-driven changes (climate proxies), (2) resolving species sensitivity to and resilience against change (biogeographical data), and (3) understanding past ecosystem function and changes (environmental data)? What information is most urgently needed for ecosystem forecasts, and are there kinds of monitoring we need to start now so that we will have ground truth in the near future? These are major questions. Answering them for the arid and semiarid landscape of the Southwest in part relies on careful thought about the spatial and temporal scales of data needed.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Improving paleoecology studies for future predictions: role of spatial and temporal scales for understanding ecology of the arid and semiarid landscape of the Southwest
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2014-1029
DOI 10.3133/ofr20141029
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Geology, Minerals, Energy and Geophysics Science Center
Description 25 p.
Country United States
Other Geospatial Mojave Desert
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N