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Type: Webinar
Host Agency:
  • Southwest Fire Science Consortium
Publication Date: August 10, 2023

The fire regime of dry desert systems, such as the Sonoran, historically consisted of infrequent, low intensity, size-limited fires. Native grasses and other vegetation, which grow in clumps and patches, are typically not contiguous enough to carry flames over a large area or allow fires to build enough heat to grow in intensity. A majority of desert woody species evolved to react well to this sparse fire regime, sprouting back after mild severity burns. The proliferation of introduced cool season grasses has changed the way that fire interacts with the system as a much greater body of biomass accumulates under trees and shrubs. In response, fires have intensified in size and impact, detrimentally impacting native systems.

In this webinar, a panel of scientists and practitioners will discuss a number of management techniques and research questions being utilized or tested in an effort to reduce the presence of introduced grasses and restore the historic fire regime. These include:

  • Researching whether fire historically maintained the clumpy pattern of native vegetation in a self-perpetuating cycle.
  • Reducing the risk of wildfire severity and extent, retaining native plant communities, and maintaining ecological processes in dry desert systems through a variety of invasive species removal techniques.
  • Producing fire breaks, or strips of treatment which are intended to repress the forward progress of wildfires, through restoration of native vegetation patchiness and pruning of native woody species.
  • Utilizing new technologies to detect invasive grasses and monitor their spread, assess treatment and cost-effectiveness, and present results from a networked experiment that tests vegetation management practices across the southwestern US.

Collectively, this information can be used to improve current practices and help develop new approaches to slow the invasive grass-fire cycle in dryland ecosystems of the southwestern US.

Recording Length: 0:58:57
Online Link(s):
Link to this recording (streaming; YouTube)
Link to this recording (471 MB; mp4)

Cataloging Information

  • contiguous fuels
  • dryland ecosystem
  • fire breaks
  • fire severity
  • invasive grasses
  • invasive species control
  • Sonoran Desert
  • vegetation patchiness
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 68469