The objectives of this project are to determine the response of semi-arid ecosystems to the combined forcings of climate variability and anthropogenic stress. Arid and semi-arid systems encompass close to 40% of the worlds land surface. The ecology of these regions are principally limited by water, and as the water resources wax and wane, so should the health and vigor of the ecosystems. Water, however, is a necessary and critical resource for humans living in these same regions. Thus for many arid and semi-arid regions the natural systems and human systems are in direct competition for a limited resource. Increasing competition through development of arid and semi-arid regions, export of water resources, as well as potential persistent changes in weather patterns are likely to lead to fundamental changes in carrying capacity, resilience, and ecology of these regions. A detailed understanding of these systems respond to forcing on a regional and local scale is required in order to better prepare for and manage future changes in the availability of water. In the Owens Valley CA, decadal changes in rainfall and increased use of groundwater resources by Los Angles (which derives 60-70% of its water from this region) have resulted in a large-scale experiment on the impacts of these changes in semi-arid ecosystems. This project works directly with the Inyo County Water Department (local water authority) and the Los Angles Department of Water and Power (regional demand on water resources) to understand changes, their causes, and impacts. Very detailed records have been kept for a number of selected sites in the valley which provide essential ground truth. These results are then scaled up through remote sensed data to regions scale to assess large scale patterns and link them to the fundamental decisions regarding the water resources of this region. A fundamental goal is to understand how resilient the native ecosystems are to large changes in water resources. Are they are on a spring (remove and return resources, do the systems return to the original state) or a vector (when water returns have the systems fundamentally changed).