Desertification of Rangelands

D. P.C. Peters, B. T. Bestelmeyer, K. M. Havstad, A. Rango, S. R. Archer, A. C. Comrie, H. R. Gimblett, L. López-Hoffman, O. E. Sala, E. R. Vivoni, M. L. Brooks, J. Brown, H. C. Monger, J. H. Goldstein, G. S. Okin, C. E. Tweedie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations


Desertification, the broad-scale conversion of perennial grasslands to dominance by annuals or xerophytic shrubs, has affected drylands globally over the past several centuries. Desertification is a cumulative threat that includes both climatic (e.g., drought) and land-use drivers (e.g., livestock overgrazing, fire). In this chapter, we determine the vulnerability of different ecosystem services to changes in drivers and ecosystem states, with a focus on the American Southwest. We have four objectives: (1) to describe key services in drylands, (2) to identify consequences of desertification to each service, (3) to explore the vulnerability of each service to future state-changes if existing threats intensify and new threats emerge, and (4) to determine threats expected to have the greatest future impact, and to provide potential actions for mitigation. We conclude with recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVulnerability of Ecosystems to Climate
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780123847041
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodiversity
  • Climate
  • Desertification
  • Dryland ecosystems
  • Feedbacks
  • Grasslands
  • Invasive species
  • Land management
  • Land use
  • Land-atmosphere interactions
  • Shrublands
  • State change
  • Thresholds
  • Water
  • Wind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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