Application of a rangeland soil erosion model using National Resources Inventory data in southeastern Arizona

M. Hernandez, M. A. Nearing, J. J. Stone, F. B. Pierson, H. Wei, K. E. Spaeth, P. Heilman, M. A. Weltz, D. C. Goodrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Rangelands comprise a large portion of the western United States. They are important for providing ecosystem services such as sources of clean water and air, wildlife habitat, ecosystem biodiversity, recreation, and aesthetics. The National Resources Inventory (NRI) is a primary data source for ongoing assessment of nonfederal land in the United States, including rangelands, and the data collected during an NRI assessment is typical of rangeland monitoring conducted by managers. This study outlines a methodology for using that type of monitoring data to run a rangeland hydrology and erosion model in order to estimate the relative soil erosion rates across ecosystems located in the American Southwest. The model was run on 134 NRI rangeland field locations with data collected between 2003 and 2006 in Major Land Resource Area 41, the Southeastern Arizona Basin and Range, which is a diverse ecological area of 40,765 km2 (15, 739 mi2) in the transition zone between the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. Results of the study showed that the data collected was adequate to run the model and effectively assess the influence of foliar cover, ground cover, plant life forms, soils, and topography on current soil erosion rates. Results suggested that the model could be further improved with additional measured experimental data on infiltration, runoff, and soil erosion within key ecological sites in order to better quantify model parameters to reflect ecosystem changes and risk of crossing interdependent biotic and abiotic thresholds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)512-525
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Soil and Water Conservation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Conservation
  • Hydrology
  • Landscapes
  • Rangeland health
  • Rangeland hydrology and erosion model
  • Soil erosion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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