David Lightfoot




This is data for vegetation canopy cover measured from each of the SMES study plots. Vegetation canopy cover was measured from each of the 36 one-meter2 quadrats twice each year. Animal consumers have important roles in ecosystems, determining plant species composition and structure, regulating rates of plant production and nutrient, and altering soil structure and chemistry. The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not the activities of small mammals regulate plant community structure, plant species diversity, and spatial vegetation patterns in Chihuahuan Desert shrublands and grasslands.


Other Identifier


Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity (KNB) Identifier


Document Type



This dataset was originally published on the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network Data Portal,, and potentially via other repositories or portals as described. The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) of the source data package is doi:10.6073/pasta/d80d5e2196cd11ef79df23ebe5a77c19, and may be accessed at Metadata and files included in this record mirror as closely as possible the source data and documentation, with the provenance metadata and quality report generated by the LTER portal reproduced here as '*-provenance.xml' and *-report.html' files, respectively.


Data Policies: This dataset is released to the public and may be freely downloaded. Please keep the designated Contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement of the Sevilleta LTER. Datasets must be cited as in the example provided. A copy of any publications using these data must be supplied to the Sevilleta LTER Information Manager. By downloading any data you implicitly acknowledge the LTER Data Policy (


Temporal coverage

1995-05-02 - 2008-10-22

Spatial coverage

Location: The Rio Salado is an ephemeral tributary of the Rio Grande on the west side of the Sevilleta NWR, flowing west by northwest to east by southeast. Rio Salado Grassland and Rio Salado Larrea are two study sites established in 1989. These sites were established as counterparts to sites at Five Points. Between 1989 and 1998, vegetation, litter decomposition, and ground dwelling arthropod and rodent populations were studied at both sites. Core studies at these sites were largely terminated in 1998, although rodent populations are still monitored at the Rio Salado Larrea site because the Small Mammal Exclosure Study's Larrea plots are co-located there. Rio Salado Grassland is the location Met Station 44.The Rio Salado study sites are accessed by taking the San Acacia exit, going west and then taking the frontage road back north to the Sevilleta NWR gate. After entering the refuge turn left after 0.2 mi and take this road 1.4 mi to a "T" in the road at the power lines. An earthen berm stops road travel here and the met station is located about 300 m west on the blocked road. Vegetation: The Rio Salado Larrea site is characterized as Chihuahuan Desert Scrub, dominated by creosotebush (Larrea tridentata), with honey mesquite, fourwing saltbush, purple pricklypear (O. macrocentra), and broom snakeweed as co-occurring shrubs. Dominant grasses are black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda), galleta (Pleuraphis jamesii), burrograss (Scleropogon brevifolia), and fluffgrass (Dasyochloa pulchellum). Common forb species include desert holly (Acourtia nana), spectaclepod (Dimorphocarpa spp.), blackfoot daisey (Melampodium leucanthum), twinleaf (Senna bauhinoides), globemallow (Sphaeralcea wrightii), and plains hiddenflower (Cryptantha crassisepala). While individual creosote bushes tend to be larger, overall plant cover is less than at the creosote core site at Five Points, with more exposed embedded stones and gravel on the soil surface, creating a pavement-like appearance., Location: Five Points Black Grama is on the transition between Chihuahuan Desert Scrub and Desert Grassland habitat. The site is subject to intensive research activity, including assessments of net primary productivity, phenology, and pollinator diversity, amongst other projects. It is the site of the unburned black grama (GU) component of the Burn NPP study. On August 4, 2009, a lightning-initiated fire began on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. By August 5, 2009, the fire had reached the Five Points Black Grama site. Portions of this site were burned, but not the entirety. See individual projects for further information on the effects of the burn. Vegetation: The Five Points Black Grama site is ecotonal in nature, bordering Chihuahuan Desert Scrub at its southern extent and Plains-Mesa Grassland at its northern, more mesic boundary. Characteristically, the dominant grass is black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda).



Permanent URL

knb-lter-sev.97.182096-metadata.html (106 kB)
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knb-lter-sev.97.182096-provenance.xml (3 kB)
Show provenance metadata

knb-lter-sev.97.182096-report.html (24 kB)
Show original LTER Network Data Portal ingest report

sev097_smesquad_09082011.txt (4915 kB)
Data in TXT format


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