Brandon Bestelmeyer

Brandon Bestelmeyer

Title & Affiliation(s):

  • Research Leader, USDA-ARS, Jornada Experimental Range
  • Co-PI, Jornada Basin LTER
  • Adjunct Faculty, Departments of Biology and Plant and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State University

Primary Research Interests:

My work addresses the causes and management implications of ecosystem dynamics in drylands and other ecological systems. I study processes at several spatial scales as a basis for understanding the formation and maintenance of alternative ecosystem states. I link research to management applications including “ecological site” land classifications, assessment and monitoring tools, and evaluations of restoration effects. This work has involved measurements and analysis of plant and animal community pattern and dynamics, plant growth/reproduction, characterization of soil surface and soil profile properties, mapping of vegetation, and social-ecological system perspectives. Applications are focused on US land management agencies and institutions in Mongolia, China, and Argentina.

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Selected Publications:

  • Bestelmeyer BT, Peters DPC, Archer SR, Browning DM, Okin GS, Schooley RL, Webb NP. 2018. The grassland-shrubland regime shift in the southwestern United States: misconceptions and their implications for management. BioScience 68: 678-690.
  • Bestelmeyer BT, Okin GS, Duniway MC, Archer SR, Sayre NF, Williamson JC, Herrick JE. 2015. Desertification, land use, and the transformation of global drylands. Front Ecol Environ. 13: 28-36.
  • Svejcar LN, Bestelmeyer BT, Duniway MC, and James DK. 2015. Scale-dependent feedbacks between patch size and plant reproduction in desert grassland. Ecosystems. 18: 146-153.
  • Bestelmeyer BT, Duniway MC, James DK, Burkett LM, Havstad KM. 2013. A test of critical thresholds and their indicators in a desertification-prone ecosystem: more resilience than we thought. Ecol Lett. 16: 339-345.
  • Bestelmeyer BT, Ellison AM, Fraser WR, Gorman KB, Holbrook SJ, Laney CM, Ohman MD, Peters DPC, Pullsbury FC, Rassweiler A, Schmitt RJ, Sharma S. 2011. Analysis of abrupt transitions in ecological systems. Ecosphere. 2:129. doi:10.1890/ES11-00216.1.

Synergistic Activities:

  • Vice chair-elect: USDA Long-Term Agroecosystem Research Network
  • Consultant: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Mongolia
  • Editorial Boards: Journal of Arid Environments, Rangeland Ecology and Management
  • Co-operator: USDA NRCS on national ecological site description effort.