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Resistance to invasion and resilience to fire in desert shrublands of North America

Posted date: October 04, 2011
Publication Year: 
2011
Authors: Brooks, Matthew L.; Chambers, Jeanne C.
Publication Series: 
Miscellaneous Publication
Source: Rangeland and Ecology Management. 64: 431-438.

Abstract

Settlement by Anglo-Americans in the desert shrublands of North America resulted in the introduction and subsequent invasion of multiple nonnative grass species. These invasions have altered presettlement fire regimes, resulted in conversion of native perennial shrublands to nonnative annual grasslands, and placed many native desert species at risk. Effective management of these ecosystems requires an understanding of their ecological resistance to invasion and resilience to fire. Resistance and resilience differ among the cold and hot desert shrublands of the Great Basin, Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan deserts in North America. These differences are largely determined by spatial and temporal patterns of productivity but also are affected by ecological memory, severity and frequency of disturbance, and feedbacks among invasive species and disturbance regimes. Strategies for preventing or managing invasive plant/fire regimes cycles in desert shrublands include: 1) conducting periodic resource assessments to evaluate the probability of establishment of an altered fire regime; 2) developing an understanding of ecological thresholds associate within invasion resistance and fire resilience that characterize transitions from desirable to undesirable fire regimes; and 3) prioritizing management activities based on resistance of areas to invasion and resilience to fire.

Citation

Brooks, Matthew L.; Chambers, Jeanne C. 2011. Resistance to invasion and resilience to fire in desert shrublands of North America. Rangeland and Ecology Management. 64: 431-438.