JFSP Research Sumary - Identifying Successful Native Species for Re-Vegetating Burned Arid Lands

(This is a re-post from the JFSP Flash Newsletter)

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Region: Mojave Desert

Key Finding: Some plants appear to have the potential to compete with cheatgrass after fire in arid lands, especially in the Mojave.


Noteable Findings:

  • Certain species, particularly early successional forbs, are better able to compete with exotic annual grasses.
  • It's possible for existing native species and communities to inhibit establishment of exotic annual grasses.
  • These species also performed well as transplants in recently burned areas, suggesting that they would be most appropriate for post-fire seeding or transplant efforts.
  • A native, early successional forb community reduced biomass (fuel) consisting of exotic grasses Bromus rubens and Schismus by 8- (nitrogen added to soil) to 33 - fold (no added nitrogen).
  • The native forb Sphaeralcea ambigua (desert globemallow) performed best overall for reducing exotic grasses and establishing on desert  burns.

Future Work:

  • Information is needed on factors that determine success or failure of seeding in arid lands. This may include timing and the amount of seed used.
  • Studies that take a long-term perspective on post-fire re-vegetation of arid lands are needed.


Principle Investigators:

Scott Abella
Public Lands Institute and School of Life Sciences
University of Nevada Las Vegas

Stanley Smith
School of Life Sciences
University of Las Vegas