Phenological Events and Their Environmental Triggers in Mojave Desert Ecosystems

  • Beatley J
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Abstract

Phenological events in Mojave desert systems are triggered by heavy rains (> 25 mm [1 in]). The most predictable and consequential of these is a regional rain be- tween late September and early December. This rainfall event is usually the precursor of successful vegetative and reproductive growth of shrubs the next spring, and is usually neces- sary for all growth phenomena of herbaceous perennials and winter annuals during the fol- lowing winter and spring. For most plant components in most years, the growing season is synchronized within the autumn-winter-spring period, and the relative biological success each spring is dependent upon the occurrence or failure of occurrence of events of the preceding autumn. Under certain conditions rainfall during other seasons may trigger growth and re- production of the primary producers and permit at least moderate or local successes every season. The relationships are stated in a flow diagram for the rainfall and phonological events, as documented for 13 yr in the Mojave desert of southern Nevada.

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Authors

  • Janice C. Beatley

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