Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs


The purpose of this study is to further describe the distribution, habitats, and ecological characteristics of the natural vegetation in the northern sector of the northern Mojave Desert. Sixty-six stands were classified on the basis of shared leading dominant species. Each of these groupings is well defined and represents a sociologically distinct entity quite recognizable in the field. The relationships between each vegetational grouping and several environmental variables were statistically analyzed. Significant differences were found among plant groupings with respect to soil moisture tension, absolute and relative amounts of exchangeable Na, exchangeable K, cation exchange capacity, and elevation.
The analysis of the relationship between the phytosociological behavior of the major leading dominant species and the environmental variables shows that some of the simple, or multiple, linear correlations obtained with regard to Larrea tridentate (Sesse & Moc. ex DC.) Cov. were highly significant. Atriplex confertifolia (Torr. & Frem.) S. Wats. and Atriplex canescens (Pursh) Nutt. showed the highest number of significant correlations obtained.
Diversity varies from one vegetational grouping to the other as well as between stands of the same grouping. The grouping of L. tridentate has proved to be the most widespread, diversified, and, consequently, the most stable vegetation cover in the study area; it, therefore, represents a climax community. The vegetational grouping dominated by A. confertifolia, on the other hand, appears not to be a climax community.