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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...
Fire risk in deserts is increased by high production of annual forbs and invasive grasses that create a continuous fine fuel bed in the interspaces between shrubs. Interspace production is influenced by water, nitrogen (N) availability, and soil texture, and in some areas N availability is increasing due to anthropogenic N deposition. The DayCent model was used to investigate how production of herbaceous annuals changes along gradients of precipitation, N availability, and soil texture, and to develop risk-based critical N loads. DayCent was parameterized for two vegetation types within Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA: creosote bush (CB) and pi´┐Żon?juniper (PJ). The model was successfully calibrated in...