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Journal of Arid Land  2013, Vol. 5 Issue (3): 298-309    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-013-0172-0
Research Articles     
Annual-perennial plant relationships and species selection for desert restoration
Scott R ABELLA1*, Stanley D SMITH2
1 Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-3064, USA;
2 School of Life Sciences, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-4004, USA
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Abstract  Exotic plant invasion is a growing concern in the conservation and management of indigenous arid land ecosystems. By creating areas of ameliorated microclimates and fertile soil below their canopies, perennial plants might influence exotic annual plant invasions. We conducted a quantitative literature review of studies that compared exotic annual plant abundance among native perennial plant species and interspace (open areas) microsites in North America’s Mojave Desert, where exotic plant invasion has corresponded with increasing extent of wildfire and broad-scale ecosystem transformation. Ten studies compared exotic annual plant abundance between interspaces and below a total of 36 native perennial species. These studies revealed that: (1) With few exceptions, most native perennial species supported a greater abundance of exotic annuals than interspaces, indicating overall facilitation of exotic species by native perennials. (2) Exotic species abundance varied by orders of magnitude among native perennial species, with some perennial species harboring amounts of exotics similar to interspaces. (3) Dis-tributions of dominant exotic species varied, where Bromus rubens displayed a greater affinity for below-perennial microsites than did Schismus spp. and Erodium cicutarium that often were most abundant in interspaces. Results suggest that the degree of facilitation of exotic plants warrants consideration when selecting native perennial spe-cies for revegetation and restoration projects.

Key wordsdry and wet conditions      spatial distribution      temporal variation      Penman-Monteith model      Loess Plateau     
Received: 04 October 2012      Published: 10 September 2013

This work was facilitated by funding provided by cooperative agreements between the National Park Service (Lake Mead National Recreation Area, in particular Alice NEWTON) and the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV)

Corresponding Authors: Scott R ABELLA     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Scott R ABELLA, Stanley D SMITH. Annual-perennial plant relationships and species selection for desert restoration. Journal of Arid Land, 2013, 5(3): 298-309.

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