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Classification
Scientific Name: North American Warm Desert Wash
Unique Identifier: CES302.755
Classification Confidence: 2 - Moderate

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Summary: This ecological system is restricted to intermittently flooded washes or arroyos that dissect bajadas, mesas, plains and basin floors throughout the warm deserts of North America. Although often dry, the intermittent fluvial processes define this system, which are often associated with rapid sheet and gully flow. This system occurs as linear or braided strips within desert scrub-or desert grassland-dominated landscapes. The vegetation of desert washes is quite variable, ranging from sparse and patchy to moderately dense, and typically occurs along the banks, but may occur within the channel. The woody layer is typically intermittent to open and may be dominated by shrubs and small trees such as Acacia greggii, Brickellia laciniata, Baccharis sarothroides, Chilopsis linearis, Fallugia paradoxa, Hymenoclea salsola, Hymenoclea monogyra, Juglans microcarpa, Olneya tesota, Parkinsonia florida, Prosopis spp., Psorothamnus spinosus, Prunus fasciculata, Rhus microphylla, Salazaria mexicana, or Sarcobatus vermiculatus. Common upland shrubs such as Larrea tridentata and Ambrosia dumosa are often present along the edges of these washes. In Texas, woody species found in and adjacent to these washes include Acacia greggii, Baccharis salicifolia, Brickellia laciniata, Celtis laevigata var. reticulata, Chilopsis linearis, Dasylirion leiophyllum, Fallugia paradoxa, Fraxinus greggii, Juglans microcarpa, Juglans microcarpa, Leucaena retusa, Prosopis glandulosa, Rhus microphylla, and Salix gooddingii. Taller species may form a sparse canopy over the shorter shrubs. In addition, shrubs from the adjacent upland, such as Larrea tridentata, Viguiera stenoloba, Flourensia cernua, and Juniperus pinchotii may be commonly encountered.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL000557 Sapindus saponaria - Juglans major Scrub
CEGL001103 Juglans microcarpa Scrub
CEGL001159 Baccharis sarothroides - Parkinsonia microphylla Wet Shrubland
CEGL001160 Baccharis sarothroides - Baccharis salicifolia Wet Shrubland
CEGL001164 Chilopsis linearis Shrubland
CEGL001169 Hymenoclea monogyra Thicket Shrubland
CEGL001335 Encelia virginensis Shrubland
CEGL001340 Acacia greggii - Parkinsonia microphylla Shrubland
CEGL001347 Grayia spinosa - Lycium andersonii Shrubland
CEGL001348 Grayia spinosa - Lycium pallidum Shrubland
CEGL001354 Rhus microphylla / Bouteloua curtipendula Shrubland
CEGL001381 Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana Wet Scrub
CEGL001382 Prosopis glandulosa / Atriplex canescens Ruderal Shrubland
CEGL001383 Prosopis glandulosa / Bouteloua gracilis Ruderal Shrubland
CEGL001384 Prosopis glandulosa / Mixed Grasses Ruderal Shrubland
CEGL001385 Prosopis glandulosa / Sporobolus airoides Shrubland
CEGL001387 Prosopis pubescens Wet Scrub
CEGL001388 Prosopis velutina - Acacia greggii Ruderal Shrubland
CEGL001390 Prosopis velutina / Celtis laevigata var. reticulata Wet Scrub
CEGL001510 Prosopis glandulosa / Bouteloua eriopoda Ruderal Shrub Grassland
CEGL001511 Prosopis glandulosa / Muhlenbergia porteri Ruderal Shrubland
CEGL001653 Panicum bulbosum - Alopecurus aequalis Grassland
CEGL001654 Panicum bulbosum - Lycurus phleoides Grassland
CEGL001953 Brickellia laciniata - Hymenoclea monogyra Shrubland
CEGL002133 Prosopis glandulosa / Bouteloua curtipendula - Nassella leucotricha Woodland
CEGL002193 Prosopis glandulosa - Atriplex spp. Shrubland
CEGL002357 Fallugia paradoxa Colorado Plateau Desert Wash Shrubland
CEGL002701 Psorothamnus spinosus Shrubland
CEGL002702 Hymenoclea salsola - (Ambrosia eriocentra) Shrubland
CEGL002703 Hymenoclea salsola - Salazaria mexicana Shrubland
CEGL002704 Prunus fasciculata Shrubland
CEGL002706 Ericameria paniculata Desert Wash Shrubland
CEGL002953 Baccharis sergiloides Wet Shrubland
CEGL002958 Ephedra californica - Hymenoclea salsola Desert Wash Shrubland
CEGL002960 Hyptis emoryi Shrubland
CEGL002962 Viguiera reticulata Shrubland
CEGL002974 Baccharis emoryi Wet Shrubland
CEGL003877 Prosopis glandulosa var. glandulosa / Bouteloua gracilis - Bouteloua dactyloides Ruderal Shrubland
CEGL004572 Baccharis salicifolia / Muhlenbergia rigens Wet Shrubland
CEGL004593 Juglans microcarpa / Cladium mariscus Flooded Scrub Woodland
CEGL004594 Juglans microcarpa / Sorghastrum nutans Flooded Scrub Woodland
CEGL004933 Chilopsis linearis / Brickellia laciniata Scrub
CEGL004934 Prosopis glandulosa Wet Scrub
CEGL005298 Fallugia paradoxa Grand Canyon Desert Wash Shrubland
CEGL005346 Prosopis velutina / Mimosa dysocarpa Ruderal Shrubland
CEGL005390 Acacia greggii Wash Shrubland
CEGL005391 Bebbia juncea Shrubland
CEGL005392 Brickellia longifolia Shrubland
CEGL005395 Isocoma acradenia Wet Shrubland
CEGL005398 Hymenoclea salsola Wash Shrubland
CEGL005737 Acacia greggii - (Ambrosia eriocentra, Salvia dorrii) Desert Wash Shrubland
CEGL005738 Acacia greggii - Prunus fasciculata Desert Wash Shrubland
CEGL005742 Chilopsis linearis / (Ambrosia eriocentra, Salvia dorrii) Desert Wash Scrub
CEGL005743 Chilopsis linearis / Ericameria paniculata Desert Wash Scrub
CEGL005744 Chilopsis linearis / Hymenoclea salsola Desert Wash Scrub
CEGL005745 Chilopsis linearis / Prunus fasciculata Desert Wash Scrub
CEGL005753 Hymenoclea salsola - Larrea tridentata Desert Wash Shrubland
CEGL005773 Prunus fasciculata - Ambrosia eriocentra Desert Wash Shrubland
CEGL005774 Salvia dorrii Desert Wash Shrubland
CEGL005981 Salix gooddingii / Baccharis emoryi Riparian Woodland
CEGL006863 Prunus fasciculata - (Purshia stansburiana, Viguiera reticulata) Desert Wash Shrubland
CEGL009522 Acacia greggii - Larrea tridentata - Hymenoclea salsola Desert Wash Shrubland



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Woody Wetland
Spatial Pattern: Linear
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: Yes
Wetland: Yes
Isolated Wetland: No

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Lowland Lowland
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Toeslope/Valley Bottom  
Tropical/Subtropical Tropical Xeric
Temperate Temperate Xeric
Riverine / Alluvial  
Intermittent Flooding  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Sideslope  
Short (50-100 yrs) Persistence  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Chilopsis linearis G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Juglans microcarpa G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy  
 
 
Parkinsonia florida G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Prosopis glandulosa G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Olneya tesota G4 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Acacia greggii G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Baccharis sergiloides G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Pluchea sericea G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Prunus fasciculata G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Psorothamnus spinosus G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Rhus microphylla G4 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
 
 
Salazaria mexicana G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Sarcobatus vermiculatus G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Baccharis sarothroides G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Fallugia paradoxa G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
 
 
Hymenoclea salsola G5 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Brickellia laciniata G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 
Hymenoclea monogyra G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling  
 
 


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX
Distribution Outside Canada and the United States: Mexico
Global Range: This system is restricted to intermittently flooded washes or arroyos that dissect bajadas, mesas, plains and basin floors throughout the warm deserts of North America.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
302-North American Warm Desert C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
17 Mojave Desert Confident or certain
22 Apache Highlands Confident or certain
23 Sonoran Desert Confident or certain
24 Chihuahuan Desert Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
4 Southern California Coastal Range Predicted or probable
12 Western Great Basin Predicted or probable
13 Death Valley Basin Confident or certain
14 Sonoran Desert Confident or certain
15 Mogollon Rim Predicted or probable
16 Utah High Plateaus Predicted or probable
17 Eastern Great Basin Confident or certain
23 Colorado Plateau Possible
24 Navajo Plateau Confident or certain
25 Rio Grande Basin Confident or certain
26 Chihuahuan Desert Confident or certain
27 Great Plains Tablelands Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 9151

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 02Oct2014
Element Description Author(s): L. Elliott and J. Teague

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • Barbour, M. G., and J. Major, editors. 1988. Terrestrial vegetation of California: New expanded edition. California Native Plant Society, Special Publication 9, Sacramento. 1030 pp.

  • Brown, D. E., editor. 1982a. Biotic communities of the American Southwest-United States and Mexico. Desert Plants Special Issue 4(1-4):1-342.

  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

  • Dick-Peddie, W. A. 1993. New Mexico vegetation: Past, present, and future. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 244 pp.

  • Elliott, L. 2012. Draft descriptions of systems, mapping subsystems, and vegetation types for Phases V. Unpublished documents. Texas Parks and Wildlife Ecological Systems Classification and Mapping Project. Texas Natural History Survey, The Nature Conservancy of Texas, San Antonio.

  • MacMahon, J. A. 1988. Warm deserts. Pages 232-264 in: M. G. Barbour and W. D. Billings, editors. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge University Press, New York.

  • Muldavin, E., Y. Chauvin, and G. Harper. 2000b. The vegetation of White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico: Volume I. Handbook of vegetation communities. Final report to Environmental Directorate, White Sands Missile Range. New Mexico Natural Heritage Program, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. 195 pp. plus appendices

  • Shiflet, T. N., editor. 1994. Rangeland cover types of the United States. Society for Range Management. Denver, CO. 152 pp.

  • Szaro, R. C. 1989. Riparian forest and scrubland community types of Arizona and New Mexico. Desert Plants Special Issue 9(3-4):70-139.

  • Thomas, K. A., T. Keeler-Wolf, J. Franklin, and P. Stine. 2004. Mojave Desert Ecosystem Program: Central Mojave vegetation mapping database. U.S. Geological Survey, Western Regional Science Center. 251 pp.


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