In semi-arid regions of North America and Australia, Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link (syn. Cenchrus ciliaris; buffelgrass) is highly invasive and has the potential to introduce fire to fire-intolerant ecosystems. Major efforts to remove P. ciliare continue and it is essential that P. ciliare be prevented from recolonizing. This study investigated potential methods to revegetate with native herbaceous plants: sowing seeds; sowing seeds and mulching; sowing seeds and transplanting seedlings; and relying on natural revegetation from the seedbank. The treatments were applied in 2009 and 2010 at sites in the Sonoran Desert which had undergone P. ciliare removal. Monsoon precipitation was below average each year and seedling emergence and establishment rates were low. There are indications that soil disturbance associated with planting seedlings promoted P. ciliare emergence and increased mortality of brittlebush (Encelia farinosa A. Gray ex Torr.), a common native perennial forb. Addition of mulch may have promoted P. ciliare over native grasses, and seeding had no effect. We did not find competition between herbaceous seedlings. Rather, native and exotic grass seedling densities were positively correlated across sites. Under prevailing conditions, low precipitation appeared to limit herbaceous plant establishment and none of the treatments reduced P. ciliare abundance.
- Sonoran Desert
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Earth-Surface Processes