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No Long-Term Effects of Prescribed Fire on Lehmann Lovegrass (Eragrostis lehmanniana)–Invaded Desert Grassland

McGlone, Christopher M.
Invasive plant science and management 2013 v.6 no.3 pp. 449-456
Bouteloua eriopoda, Eragrostis lehmanniana, Gutierrezia sarothrae, grasses, grasslands, indigenous species, invasive species, prescribed burning, shrubs, woody plants, Chihuahuan Desert
Desert grasslands of the southwestern United States have experienced an increase in the abundance and distribution of woody plant species over the past century. Shrub encroachment has caused a substantial loss of grasslands in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. The Chihuahuan Desert has also been invaded by Lehmann lovegrass, a fire-adapted species from southern Africa. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service burned a remnant desert grassland to determine the effects of prescribed fire on shrub–perennial grass dynamics. The grassland also contained the nonnative perennial grass Lehmann lovegrass. I am reporting on a study that was initiated to determine whether prescribed burning would alter the vegetative community within and proximal to a Lehmann lovegrass–dominated patch. Cover of Lehmann lovegrass showed no significant response to the burn treatment. Of the dominant native species, only black grama and broom snakeweed had a significant year by treatment interaction. No species or growth form had a significant vegetation type by year by treatment interaction. After 6 yr, differences between burned and unburned transects were not significant for any species or growth form. Nomenclature: Lehmann lovegrass, Eragrostis lehmanniana Nees, black grama, Bouteloua eriopoda (Torr.) Torr., broom snakeweed, Gutierrezia sarothrae (Pursh) Britt. & Rusby.