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Geographic overview: Climate, phenology, and disturbance regimes in steppe and desert communitiesAuthor(s): B. J. Weddell
Source: In: Finch, Deborah M., Editor. Ecosystem disturbance and wildlife conservation in western grasslands - A symposium proceedings. September 22-26, 1994; Albuquerque, NM. General Technical Report RM-GTR-285. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. p. 3-12.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station
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DescriptionIn midwestern steppes, precipitation peaks in summer, whereas west of the Rocky Mountains, steppes are characterized by summer drought. In western deserts, the amount of precipitation is highly variable. These different climatic regimes result in differences in prevalence of and resilience to disturbances such as herbivory, and differences in susceptibility to invasion by exotic plants and animals. The timing and predictability of precipitation influences plant phenology and life forms, which in turn influence the distributions and annual cycles of animals such as bison (Bison bison) and prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.). Desert organisms are susceptible to disturbances that disrupt cues signaling temporarily favorable conditions. Herbivores such as Bay checkerspot butterflies (Euphydryas editha bayensis) that are closely tied to the life cycles of their host plants are vulnerable to climatic changes that disrupt this tight phase relationship.
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CitationWeddell, B. J. 1996. Geographic overview: Climate, phenology, and disturbance regimes in steppe and desert communities. In: Finch, Deborah M., Editor. Ecosystem disturbance and wildlife conservation in western grasslands - A symposium proceedings. September 22-26, 1994; Albuquerque, NM. General Technical Report RM-GTR-285. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. p. 3-12.
Keywordsriparian ecosystems, human dimensions, hydrology, ecology, history, restoration
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