Can bufelgrass invasions be controlled in the american southwest? Using invasion ecology teory to understand bufelgrass success and develop comprehensive restoration and management

Jason Stevens, Donald A. Falk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Since being introduced for rangeland improvements in the early to mid-20th century, several non-native grass species have spread beyond their initial planting sites in the American Southwest. Many of these species, especially those that have infltrated desert ecosystems, can alter ?fre regimes, which in turn threatens native plant species. In Arizona desert ecosystems, buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) increases ?fre frequency and intensity, which may create a positive feedback loop, resulting in a shift from native ?fre-sensitive plant communities to non-native grasslands. Although control efforts are currently underway, a more comprehensive ecosystem approach will be required to treat buffelgrass invasions in southeastern Arizona's deserts. Here, we evaluate the species and environmental factors that may contribute to plant invasion success. We highlight empirical buffelgrass literature as it pertains to invasion, integrate basic invasion ecology theory and restoration ecology to examine potential practical approaches for controlling buffelgrass invasions in southeastern Arizona, and use this information to provide the basis for comprehensive restoration and management. We also briefy discuss public policy related to buffelgrass control in the southwestern United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-427
Number of pages11
JournalEcological Restoration
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Bottom-up control
  • Buffelgrass (pennisetum ciliare)
  • Competition
  • Invasion control
  • Invasive species
  • Top-down control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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