Impact of feedbacks on Chihuahuan desert grasslands: Transience and metastability

Gregory S. Okin, Paolo D'Odorico, Steven R. Archer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


A simplistic model of grass-shrub dynamics was used to investigate the role of grass demographic processes on grassland-shrubland dynamics when grasses are in competitive advantage over shrubs. The model suggests that a feedback between grass biomass and soil erosion may cause an abrupt transition to a shrubland state. The model explains how a simple change in either grass recruitment or grass mortality, presumably linked to climate change or grazing, could produce changes in Holocene flora and the conversion of grasslands to shrublands, which has been observed throughout the southwestern U.S. in the past 150 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberG01004
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 28 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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