Post-fire recovery of native grasses – Sandberg bluegrass may be critical at lower elevations

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Interactions among species can strongly affect how plant communities reassemble after disturbances, and variability among native and invasive species across environmental gradients must be known in order to manage plant-community recovery. The stress-gradient hypothesis (SGH) predicts species interactions will be more positive in abiotically stressful conditions and conversely, more negative in benign conditions, and the resistance-resilience concept (RRC) may predict where and when invasions will complicate ecosystem recovery. We evaluated how abiotic stress and biotic interactions determine native bunchgrass abundances across environmental gradients using additive models of cover data from over 500 plots re-measured annually for 5 years as they recovered naturally (untreated) after a megafire (>100,000 ha) in sagebrush steppe threated by the invasive-grass and fire cycle.

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