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      Shrub Invasions of North American Semiarid Grasslands

      Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics
      Annual Reviews

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          Biological feedbacks in global desertification.

          Studies of ecosystem processes on the Jornada Experimental Range in southern New Mexico suggest that longterm grazing of semiarid grasslands leads to an increase in the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of water, nitrogen, and other soil resources. Heterogeneity of soil resources promotes invasion by desert shrubs, which leads to a further localization of soil resources under shrub canopies. In the barren area between shrubs, soil fertility is lost by erosion and gaseous emissions. This positive feedback leads to the desertification of formerly productive land in southern New Mexico and in other regions, such as the Sahel. Future desertification is likely to be exacerbated by global climate warming and to cause significant changes in global biogeochemical cycles.
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            The future of biodiversity.

            Recent extinction rates are 100 to 1000 times their pre-human levels in well-known, but taxonomically diverse groups from widely different environments. If all species currently deemed "threatened" become extinct in the next century, then future extinction rates will be 10 times recent rates. Some threatened species will survive the century, but many species not now threatened will succumb. Regions rich in species found only within them (endemics) dominate the global patterns of extinction. Although new technology provides details of habitat losses, estimates of future extinctions are hampered by our limited knowledge of which areas are rich in endemics.
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              Positive interactions among plants

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics
                Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst.
                Annual Reviews
                0066-4162
                November 2000
                November 2000
                : 31
                : 1
                : 197-215
                Article
                10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.31.1.197
                52db980e-614c-494f-ab0a-0755e5b4911d
                © 2000
                History

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