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Environ Monit Assess. 2004 Dec;99(1-3):169-79.

Restoring the Great Basin Desert, U.S.A.: integrating science, management, and people.

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Great Basin Restoration Initiative, Nevada State Office, Boise, Idaho, USA.


The Great Basin Desert lies between the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the east. Nearly 60% of the area's deserts and mountains (roughly 30 million ha) are managed by the U. S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management. This area is characterized by low annual precipitation, diverse desert plant communities, and local economies that depend on the products (livestock grazing, recreation, mining, etc.) produced by these lands. The ecological and economic stability of the Great Basin is increasingly at risk due to the expansion of fire-prone invasive species and increase in wildfires. To stem this loss of productivity and diversity in the Great Basin, the BLM initiated the "Great Basin Restoration Initiative" in 1999 after nearly 0.7 million ha of the Great Basin burned in wildfires. The objective of the Great Basin Restoration Initiative is to restore plant community diversity and structure by improving resiliency to disturbance and resistance to invasive species over the long-term. To accomplish this objective, a strategic plan has been developed that emphasizes local participation and reliance on appropriate science to ensure that restoration is accomplished in an economical and ecologically appropriate manner. If restoration in the Great Basin is not successful, desertification and the associated loss of economic stability and ecological integrity will continue to threaten the sustainability of natural resources and people in the Great Basin.

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