Shrublands across the West are currently threatened by land uses such as urban sprawl, energy development, and agricultural development which impact ecosystem function through altered fire cycles, expansion of invasive species, modified hydrology, and intensified soil erosion. Historically, shrubland ecosystems have already been impacted by many of these same disturbances. Unlike our forested ecosystems, much of the land-use history in our shrublands has been forgotten or ignored. But our human endeavor can leave lasting changes on the landscape, referred to as “land-use legacies”, for decades to centuries. Looking for land-use legacies does not equate with looking for someone to blame. People have always sought to use the resources from the land on which they live. By not recognizing land-use legacies, however, we are not taking full advantage of the potential to learn about how shrublands respond to and recover from a myriad of disturbances. This paper will highlight one of the overlooked land uses within shrublands associated with homesteading - cultivation. Understanding what has happened on the landscape in the past can offer a great deal of information regarding its potential in the future.
Morris, Lesley R.
"Land-Use Legacies of Cultivation in Shrublands: Ghosts in the Ecosystem,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues:
Vol. 17, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol17/iss1/3