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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Fraga, Naomi [1], De Groot, Sarah [2].

Characterizing the flora of desert springs in the Mojave Desert to conserve ecological islands in an arid sea.

Springs in the Mojave Desert are biologically significant habitats in a vast arid landscape. These isolated wetland habitats or “hydrological islands” harbor relatively high levels of biodiversity and are important for conservation; however, they are threatened by human impacts such as groundwater pumping, livestock grazing, and recreational use. We assessed the herbarium record and found that Mojave Desert springs lack basic botanical documentation. Plant species are key indicators of the presence of water in the desert, and changes in their distribution and abundance may signal changes in water availability and land use. A specimen-based study was initiated to establish a baseline record of floristic diversity. We developed a method for characterizing vegetation present at isolated spring wetlands to assess change through time, and documenting use and threats to inform land management and conservation. We also provide a floristic comparison of at least 55 springs across the Mojave Desert in California to assess similarities and differences based on hydrology, geology, geography, land use, and other factors. Robust documentation and integration of information from multiple sources will aid in management and conservation of these important isolated habitats.

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1 - Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1500 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA, 91711, United States
2 - Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1500 North College Avenue, Claremont, California, 91711, United States

vegetation mapping
ecological islands.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: CB2, Conservation Ecology 2
Location: Tucson B/Starr Pass
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2019
Time: 2:00 PM
Number: CB2003
Abstract ID:397
Candidate for Awards:None

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