Constancy of local spread rates for buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare L.) in the Arizona Upland of the Sonoran Desert

Journal of Arid Environments
By: , and 



In North American deserts, grass invasions threaten native vegetation via competition and altered fire regimes. Accurate prediction and successful mitigation of these invasions hinge on estimation of spread rates and their degree of constancy in time and space. We used high-resolution aerial photographs from 11 sites in the Santa Catalina Mountains, southern Arizona to reconstruct the spread of buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare), a C4 perennial bunchgrass, since 1980. The total area infested was fit to a logistic model and residuals of the model were compared to climatic factors of the corresponding and lagged time periods. Infestations grew from small colonizing patches in the 1980s to 66 ha in 2008, doubling every 2.26–7.04 years since 1988. Although buffelgrass germination, establishment and distribution are favored by wet summers and warm winters, climate variables did not predict spread rates. Buffelgrass has grown at a constant rate, at least since 1988, when much of its expansion took place. In the study area, minimum requirements are met almost every year for germination and reproduction, establishing a consistent baseline for spread that manifests as a constant spread rate.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Constancy of local spread rates for buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare L.) in the Arizona Upland of the Sonoran Desert
Series title Journal of Arid Environments
DOI 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2012.06.005
Volume 87
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Publisher location Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contributing office(s) Branch of Regional Research-Western Region
Description 8 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Arid Environments
First page 136
Last page 143
Country United States
Other Geospatial Sonoran Desert;Arizona Upland
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