Post-fire plant recovery in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of western North America
This paper is a systematic review of vegetation recovery in warm deserts post-fire. The authors evaluated post-fire species composition based on time-since-fire and each desert, post-fire sprouting frequency, and perennial plant cover establishment.
Perennial vegetation in burned areas were able to reestablish to pre-fire levels after approximately 40 years post-fire; however, community composition was slower to recover. Specifically, several species in the Cactaceae family were slowest to recover or absent 40 years after fire and may require centuries to recolonize burned areas. Invasive species colonization or climate change may interfere with community development in the future and a better understanding of post-fire recovery of arid lands is needed.