Jornada Basin LTER

The overall goal of the Jornada Basin LTER (JRN) program is to quantify the key factors and processes that control ecosystem dynamics and biotic patterns in Chihuahuan Desert landscapes. These landscapes are representative of many arid and semiarid ecosystems of the world where dramatic changes in vegetation structure and ecosystem processes have occurred over the past several centuries. These changes in ecosystem state are often interpreted as “desertification”, the broad-scale conversion of perennial grasslands to dominance by xerophytic woody plants and the associated loss of soils and biological resources, including biodiversity. The JRN LTER has been investigating desertification processes since 1982. Significant advances in understanding the causes and consequences of desertification have been made at specific spatial scales and for certain environmental conditions.

Tipping Points

Grassland at the tipping point mid 1930's


Shrub Expansion

Shrub expansion

unsuccessful limiting shrub expansion

Expanding Deserts

Shift from perennial grasslands to shrublands

Poppies on the Jornada

Abundant poppy growth in 2005

© Copyright 2015 LTER. MSC03 2020, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA 87131.