Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Effects of invasive alien plants on fire regimes.

Abstract

Plant invasions are widely recognized as significant threats to biodiversity conservation worldwide. One way invasions can affect native ecosystems is by changing fuel properties, which can in turn affect fire behaviour and, ultimately, alter fire regime characteristics such as frequency, intensity, extent, type, and seasonality of fire. If the regime changes subsequently promote the dominance of the invaders, then an invasive plant-fire regime cycle can be established. As more ecosystem components and interactions are altered, restoration of preinvasion conditions becomes more difficult. Restoration may require managing fuel conditions, fire regimes, native plant communities, and other ecosystem properties in addition to the invaders that caused the changes in the first place. We present a multiphase model describing the interrelationships between plant invaders and fire regimes, provide a system for evaluating the relative effects of invaders and prioritizing them for control, and recommend ways to restore preinvasion fire regime properties.