James F. Reynolds, Professor Emeritus  

James F. Reynolds

Integrated assessment of complex human-environmental systems; Land degradation and desertification in global drylands; Conceptual frameworks and models to advance the science of dryland development

Ph.D., New Mexico State University, 1974
MS, University of Wyoming, 1971
BS, Northern Arizona University, 1969

Office Location: 130 Science Dr., Biological Sciences Bldg., Rm 137-BOX 90338, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: (919) 660-7404
Email Address: james.f.reynolds@duke.edu
Web Page: http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/people/faculty/reynolds.html

Ecology and Population Biology

Research Categories: Land degradation in arid and semiarid rangelands; Experimental and modeling studies of effects of elevated CO2 and rainfall variability on dryland ecosystems

Current projects: NSF: Desertification research network (ARIDnet), USDA: Effects drought and grazing on historical rates of land degradation in southern New Mexico , NSF: Effects elevated CO2 on a Mojave Desert ecosystem , DOE: Ecosystem Warming Experiments: Modeling Microbial Indicators

Research Description: Research in my lab focuses on the direct effects of disturbance (e.g., drought, overgrazing, land-use change) on dryland ecosystems. My main interest is desertification (land degradation in drylands), a phenomenon often equated to a reduction in the biological and economic potential of land to support human populations, livestock and wild herbivores and which, ultimately, is linked to global environmental change through climate, biodiversity loss, human dimensions, and land use change. The long-term goals are to develop a quantitative understanding of dryland degradation in the context of the balance between natural and social systems, and through collaborations with socio-economic researchers, to address questions of direct relevance to human societies in these systems. In 2002 I established ARIDnet (the Assessment, Research, and Integration of Desertification research network; pdf available at: http://www.biology.duke.edu/aridnet/pdfs/NL_54_2_IGBPCitation.pdf), which is an NSF-supported initiative on global desertification that emphasizes the interdependencies of natural and human systems as mechanisms of dryland degradation. ARIDnet evolved out of a belief that there is a pressing need for new and creative interdisciplinary approaches for addressing the global problem of desertification that transcends regional and disciplinary concerns. Background information and further details can be found at http://www.biology.duke.edu/aridnet/). At the core of an integrated, coupled systems approach to the study of dryland ecosystems is the Patch Arid Lands Simulator (PALS), a physiologically-based model that simulates 1-dimensional fluxes of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and water in a representative patch of vegetation. Students and postdocs in my lab have used PALS to explore potential whole ecosystem response to changes in (i) forcing functions (air temperature, size and timing of precipitation events, elevated CO2); (ii) system structure (e.g., shifts in plant functional type composition); and (iii) system function (changes in NEE, soil respiration, etc.). PALS was originally developed and validated for the northern Chihuahuan Desert, but has been modified for all of the warm deserts of North America, e.g., a comparative analysis of ecosystem responses to precipitation variability from 1915 to 2000 across a gradient of warm desert sites [Las Vegas, NV (Mojave), Tucson, AZ (Sonoran), and Jornada Experimental Range, NM (Chihuahuan) (Reynolds et al. 2004 Oecologia 141:194–210).

Areas of Interest:
ecosystem modeling
integrated assessment

Representative Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

  1. Reynolds, JF; Grainger, A; Stafford Smith, DM; Bastin, G; Garcia-Barrios, L; Fernández, RJ; Janssen, MA; Jürgens, N; Scholes, RJ; Veldkamp, A; Verstraete, MM; Von Maltitz, G; Zdruli, P, Scientific concepts for an integrated analysis of desertification, edited by Winslow, MD; Akhtar-Schuster, M; Martius, C; Stringer, LC; Thomas, RJ; Vogt, JV, Land Degradation & Development, vol. 22 no. 2 (2011), pp. 166-183 [doi]  [abs].
  2. Eldridge, DJ; Bowker, MA; Maestre, FT; Roger, E; Reynolds, JF; Whitford, WG, Impacts of shrub encroachment on ecosystem structure and functioning: towards a global synthesis., Ecology Letters, vol. 14 no. 7 (2011), pp. 709-722 [doi]  [abs].
  3. Maestre, FT, JF REYNOLDS, E Huber-Sannwald, J Herrick, M Stafford-Smith, Understanding global desertification: biophysical and socioeconomic dimensions of hydrology, in Dryland Ecohydrology, edited by P. D'Odorico and A Porporato (February, 2006), pp. 315-332, Springer-Verlag, Dordrecht .
  4. REYNOLDS, JF & DM Stafford Smith, Global Desertification: Do Humans Cause Deserts?, Dahlem Report 88 (December, 2002), pp. 437, Dahlem University Press (Berlin.) .
  5. Verstraete, MM; Hutchinson, CF; Grainger, A; Smith, MS; Scholes, RJ; Reynolds, JF; Barbosa, P; Léon, A; Mbow, C, Towards a global drylands observing system: Observational requirements and institutional solutions, Land Degradation & Development, vol. 22 no. 2 (2011), pp. 198-213 [doi]  [abs].
  6. Stafford Smith DM, Fernandez RA, JF REYNOLDS, Looking back on a decade of the Dryland Development Paradigm, in Proceedings, IX International Rangeland Congress, "Diverse Rangelands for a Sustainable Society" (2011), pp. 746-751 (Rosario, Argentina, April 2-8th, 2011.) .
  7. Ayarza, M; Huber-Sannwald, E; Herrick, JE; Reynolds, JF; Garca-Barrios, L; Welchez, LA; Lentes, P; Pavón, J; Morales, J; Alvarado, A; Pinedo, M; Baquera, N; Zelaya, S; Pineda, R; Amézquita, E; Trejo, M, Changing human-ecological relationships and drivers using the Quesungual agroforestry system in western Honduras, Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, vol. 25 no. 3 (2010), pp. 219-227 [doi]  [abs].
  8. Reynolds, JF; Smith, DMS; Lambin, EF; Turner, BL; Mortimore, M; Batterbury, SPJ; Downing, TE; Dowlatabadi, H; Fernández, RJ; Herrick, JE; Huber-Sannwald, E; Jiang, H; Leemans, R; Lynam, T; Maestre, FT; Ayarza, M; Walker, B, Global desertification: building a science for dryland development., Science, vol. 316 no. 5826 (May 11, 2007), pp. 847-851 [17495163], [doi]  [abs].
  9. REYNOLDS James, F, Cutting through confusion. A new paradigm for understanding the interrelated factors that make up desertification, so as better to combat it, Our Planet, vol. 17 (July, 2006), pp. 26-27 [available here]  [author's comments].
  10. Groffman, PM; Baron, JS; Blett, T; Gold, AJ; Goodman, I; Gunderson, LH; Levinson, BM; Palmer, MA; Paerl, HW; Peterson, GD; Poff, NL; Rejeski, DW; Reynolds, JF; Turner, MG; Weathers, KC; Wiens, J, Ecological thresholds: The key to successful environmental management or an important concept with no practical application?, Ecosystems, vol. 9 no. 1 (June, 2006), pp. 1-13 [doi]  [abs].
  11. Huber-Sannwald, E; Maestre, FT; Herrick, JE; Reynolds, JF, Ecohydrological feedbacks and linkages associated with land degradation: A case study from Mexico, Hydrological Processes, vol. 20 no. 15 (2006), pp. 3395-3411 [doi]  [abs].
  12. REYNOLDS, ; JF, ; Maestre, FT; Huber-Sannwald, ; E, ; Herrick, ; J, ; Kemp, , Aspectos socioeconómicos y biofísicos de la desertificación, Ecosistemas (2005) [articulo.asp%3FId%3D131%26Id_Categoria%3D2%26tipo%3Dportada] .
  13. Lambin, EF, HJ Geist, JF REYNOLDS & DM Stafford Smith, Coupled human-environment system approaches to desertification: Linking people to pixels, in Recent Advances in Remote Sensing and Geoinformation Processing for Land Degradation Assessment, edited by A Roeder & J Hill (2009), pp. 3-13, Taylor & Francis Group .
  14. REYNOLDS, JF, FT Maestre, DM Stafford Smith & EF Lambin, Natural and human dimensions of land degradation: causes and consequences, in Terrestrial Ecosystems in a Changing World, edited by J Canadell, DE Pataki & L Pitelka (January, 2007), pp. 247-258, Springer, Berlin Heidelberg .
  15. Lambin, EF, HJ Geist, JF REYNOLDS & DM Stafford Smith, Integrated human-environment approaches of land degradation in drylands, in Sustainability or Collapse: An Integrated History and Future of People on Earth, Dahlem Workshop Report 96, edited by R Costanza, LJ Graumlich & W Steffen (January, 2007), pp. 331-339, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA .
  16. REYNOLDS, JF, Desertification, in Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, edited by Simon A. Levin (2001), pp. 61-78, Academic Press (San Diego, CA.) .

Curriculum Vitae