Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Control of invasive weeds with prescribed burning.

Abstract

Prescribed burning has primarily been used as a tool for the control of invasive late-season annual broadleaf and grass species, particularly yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis), medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), barb goatgrass (Aegilops triuncialis), and several bromes (e.g. Bromus tectorum, Bromus madritensis and Bromus diandrus). However, timely burning of a few invasive biennial broadleaves (e.g., sweetclover (Melilotus spp.) and garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)), perennial grasses (e.g., bluegrasses (Poa compressa and Poa pratensis) and smooth brome (Bromus inermis)), and woody species (e.g., brooms (Genista monspessulana and Cytisus scoparius) and Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum)) also has been successful. In many cases, the effectiveness of prescribed burning can be enhanced when incorporated into an integrated vegetation management programme. Although there are some excellent examples of successful use of prescribed burning for the control of invasive species, a limited number of species have been evaluated. In addition, few studies have measured the impact of prescribed burning on the long-term changes in plant communities, impacts to endangered plant species, effects on wildlife and insect populations, and alterations in soil biology, including nutrition, mycorrhizas, and hydrology. In this review, we evaluate the current state of knowledge on prescribed burning as a tool for invasive weed management.