Exotic plant species diversity: Influence of roads and prescribed fire in Arizona ponderosa pine forests

James F. Fowler, Carolyn Hull Sieg, Brett G. Dickson, Victoria Saab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Many studies have investigated the ecological effects of roads and roadsides as both habitat and dispersal corridors for exotic plant species. Several of these compared roadside exotic species richness and abundance with adjacent interior habitats, but we found no studies of individual exotic species' abundance between the two habitats in the context of prescribed fire. We measured exotic species richness and individual species' abundance along roadsides and in adjacent interior habitat (> 150 m) before and after prescribed fire at three ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex Lawson & C. Lawson) sites in northern Arizona. Eighteen of the 20 exotic plant species found in this study have been and continue to be intentionally introduced or are known agricultural seed contaminants. Roadsides had significantly higher exotic species richness than adjacent forest interior habitats, but only one site showed a significant (decreasing) fire effect on species richness. Four exotic plant species had significantly higher densities along roadsides at two of the three sites, and four species had no significant difference in abundance between habitats at any site supporting an individualistic species response hypothesis. Most exotic species showed no significant change in density post-prescribed fire suggesting that low-intensity prescribed fire may have minimal effect on exotic species diversity. Variability in total exotic species richness, composition, species' constancies, and species' densities between the three regionally similar sites suggests differing degrees and effectiveness of past management practices and policies such as intentional seeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-293
Number of pages10
JournalRangeland Ecology and Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Exotic species abundance
  • Exotic species richness
  • Intentional introduction
  • Ponderosa pine
  • Prescribed fire
  • Seeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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