The Great Basin Integrated Landscape Monitoring Pilot Project was developed in response to the need for a monitoring and predictive capability that addresses changes in broad landscapes and waterscapes. Human communities and needs are nested within landscapes formed by interactions among the hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere. Understanding the complex processes that shape landscapes and deriving ways to manage them sustainably while meeting human needs require sophisticated modeling and monitoring.
This document summarizes current understanding of ecosystem structure and function for many of the ecosystems within the Great Basin using conceptual models. The conceptual ecosystem models identify key ecological components and processes, identify external drivers, develop a hierarchical set of models that address both site and landscape attributes, inform regional monitoring strategy, and identify critical gaps in our knowledge of ecosystem function. The report also illustrates an approach for temporal and spatial scaling from site-specific models to landscape models and for understanding cumulative effects. Eventually, conceptual models can provide a structure for designing monitoring programs, interpreting monitoring and other data, and assessing the accuracy of our understanding of ecosystem functions and processes.