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Post-fire changes in desert vegetation patterns are known, but the mechanisms are poorly understood. Theory suggests that pulse dynamics of resource availability confer advantages to invasive annual species, and that pulse timing can influence survival and competition among species. Precipitation patterns in the American Southwest are predicted to shift toward a drier climate, potentially altering post-fire resource availability and consequent vegetation dynamics. We quantified post-fire inorganic N dynamics and determined how annual plants respond to soil inorganic nitrogen variability following experimental fires in a Mojave Desert shrub community. Soil inorganic N, soil net N mineralization, and production of...
Human expansion into the Mojave Desert is a significant threat to rare desert plants. While immediate habitat loss is often the greatest concern, rare plants situated near areas where soil surfaces experience frequent disturbance may be indirectly impacted when fine particulate dust accumulates on leaf surfaces. Remaining populations of the federally listed Astragalus jaegerianus (Lane Mountain milkvetch) occur on land open to expanding military activities and on adjacent public land with increasing recreational use. This study was initiated to determine whether dust accumulation could decrease the vigor and fitness of A. jaegerianus through reduced growth. Beginning in early May 2004, plants located on Bureau of...