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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(4), 1248-1284; doi:10.3390/ijerph7041248

Disturbance and Plant Succession in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of the American Southwest

School of Environmental and Public Affairs, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV 89154-4030, USA
Received: 22 December 2009 / Revised: 23 March 2010 / Accepted: 24 March 2010 / Published: 25 March 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Environmental Research)
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Abstract

Disturbances such as fire, land clearing, and road building remove vegetation and can have major influences on public health through effects on air quality, aesthetics, recreational opportunities, natural resource availability, and economics. Plant recovery and succession following disturbance are poorly understood in arid lands relative to more temperate regions. This study quantitatively reviewed vegetation reestablishment following a variety of disturbances in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of southwestern North America. A total of 47 studies met inclusion criteria for the review. The time estimated by 29 individual studies for full reestablishment of total perennial plant cover was 76 years. Although long, this time was shorter than an estimated 215 years (among 31 individual studies) required for the recovery of species composition typical of undisturbed areas, assuming that recovery remains linear following the longest time since disturbance measurement made by the studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: arid land; recovery; revegetation; fire; management; resource damage; dust mitigation; diversity arid land; recovery; revegetation; fire; management; resource damage; dust mitigation; diversity
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Abella, S.R. Disturbance and Plant Succession in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of the American Southwest. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 1248-1284.

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