Chambers & Grace
Click here to view Jeanne and Jim's PowerPoint presentation with audio
Understanding Resistance to Invasion and Resilience to Disturbance – the Key to Restoring Great Basin Ecosystems?
Jeanne Chambers, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Reno, NV, and Jim Grace, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, Lafayette, LA
Restoration ecologists and other applied ecologists are increasingly using the concepts of ecological resilience and resistance to aid in the restoration of disturbed ecosystems. Resistance is the ability of an ecosystem to maintain characteristic processes despite various stressors or disturbance, while resilience is the capacity of an ecosystem to regain characteristic processes over time following stressors or disturbances. In the Great Basin, ecological resistance to non-native species often reflects the ecological amplitude of the invader or its ability to establish and persist. Ecological resilience or recovery potential typically increases over gradients of increasing available resources (water and nutrients) and net productivity. The ecological memory of an area coupled with the severity and frequency of disturbance and interactions among invasive species and disturbance regimes all influence ecological resistance and resilience. We illustrate these concepts based on our work with pinyon-juniper expansion and cheatgrass invasion into Great Basin ecosystems. We then discuss the use of these concepts for prioritizing management and restoration activities in these ecosystems.