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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2020-52
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2020-52
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  29 Jun 2020

29 Jun 2020

Review status
A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESurf.

Impacts of grazing on vegetation dynamics in a sediment transport complex model

Phillipe Gauvin-Bourdon1, James King1, and Liliana Perez2 Phillipe Gauvin-Bourdon et al.
  • 1Laboratoire d'Érosion Éolienne (LÉÉ), Département de Géographie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, H2V 0B3, Canada
  • 2Laboratoire de Géosimulation Environnementale (LEDGE), Département de Géographie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, H2V 0B3, Canada

Abstract. Arid environments are characterized by the complex interaction between vegetation cover, surface soil properties, and the climate. The dynamic balance between these components makes arid environments highly susceptible to swift changes in vegetation cover and in surface morphology in response to climate change. Furthermore, arid environments often support grazing activities, which influence other ecogeomorphic processes and alter the stability of vegetation cover in these environments. Despite the growing knowledge and the parallel modelling advances to simulate the sediment transport, vegetation distribution, and grazing, in arid environments, relatively little progress has been accomplished on the interaction between all these components in combination. Here we present an adaptation of an already established sediment transport-vegetation cellular automata model (Vegetation and Sediment TrAnsport or ViSTA) that represents landscape dynamics, with an agent-based model (GrAM) representing the activity of grazers on the landscape. In this study our resulting model, ViSTA_GrAM, is subjected to a series of 100-year long tests that aim to highlight the capacity of the model to represent ecogeomorphic processes linked to vegetation composition, rainfall, windspeed, and grazing pressure. The new model provides an improved representation of the feedback complexities between grazers and the vegetation, in addition to providing insight on the vegetation and wind shear sensitivity of the original model. The simulations reinforce our current knowledge on the resilience of grass-based landscapes to foraging activities and highlights the need to identify growth response rates at the species level to fully understand the complexity of the interactions between individual components within arid environments. Overall, the ViSTA_GrAM model represents an important improvement for managing arid landscapes over the previously available tools.

Phillipe Gauvin-Bourdon et al.

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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment

Phillipe Gauvin-Bourdon et al.

Model code and software

ViSTA_GrAM P. Gauvin-Bourdon https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3909749

Phillipe Gauvin-Bourdon et al.

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Short summary
Arid ecosystem health is a complex interaction between vegetation and climate and with impacts from grazing can result in quick changes in vegetation cover. We present a wind erosion and vegetation health model with active grazers over 100-year long tests to find the limits of arid environments for different levels of vegetation, rainfall, windspeed, and grazing. The model shows the resilience of grassy landscapes to grazing and its role as an improved tool for managing arid landscapes.
Arid ecosystem health is a complex interaction between vegetation and climate and with impacts...
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