Development of a model, with managers at the BLM/USFS San Juan Public Lands Center, to understand the vulnerability of public lands to drought based on ecological and physical factors
This project entailed the development of a simple ecophysiological model to produce initial drought vulnerability mapping that could be used by land managers in climate change analysis and planning efforts. A model incorporating climate, soil, and vegetation was run with precipitation data from 1948–1998 to produce a vulnerability map representing plant communities, soil textures and depth, and precipitation gradients. In the model used, transpiration and precipitation were very strong predictors of drought vulnerability. However, for the model to be of greater value to land managers, it needs a second soil depth layer in order to capture the true difference between summer and winter precipitation.