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Raelene Crandall

Washington University in St. Louis
Biodiversity, invasions, and restoration in dynamic, fire-maintained landscapes
Despite the prevalent use of fire in restoration and land management, little is known about how changes in fire season, intensity, and frequency may influence the population dynamics of co-occurring native and exotic plants. As a result, when fire is used as a restoration tool, fires sometimes successfully reduce the abundance of exotic plants and increase the diversity of native species and other times have no effect or even facilitate biological invasions. My research uses a combination of observation studies, experiments, and modeling to examine how differences between native and exotic plants influence their response to fire and how fires influence interactions between natives and exotic plants. Results suggest that while successful restoration using fire varies among systems, an understanding of the response of the dominant species to fire, interactions between fire and other disturbances, and interactions between native and exotic plants can help facilitate the successful restoration of native biodiversity with prescribed burning.
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