Long-term monitoring of rangeland ecosystem functions on the Mattheis Research Ranch

Dr. Cameron Carlyle | Assistant Professor
Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science
Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences
University of Alberta

To better understand the sustainability of ecological goods and services derived from Alberta rangelands, Dr. Carlyle and co-investigator Dr. James Cahill (Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences) have initiated a long-term study that monitors multiple ecosystem functions across both of the UAlberta research ranches (Mattheis and the Roy Berg Kinsella Research Ranch). At each ranch, twenty-four permanent sites will be used to evaluate long-term effects of climate and management on plant biomass, including forage production and quality, plant diversity, and other ecosystem functions such as litter accumulation, carbon sequestration and storage, and nutrient cycling. This monitoring program will help researchers to understand the implications of natural variability and the effects of management over the long term, and will shed light on how to best to manage Alberta’s rangelands in a way that sustains both the ranching industry and the delivery of important ecosystem services (e.g. biodiversity, carbon storage and sequestration).