Desert grasslands of the southwestern United States have experienced an increase in the abundance and distribution of woody plant species over the past century. Shrub encroachment has caused a substantial loss of grasslands in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. The Chihuahuan Desert has also been invaded by Lehmann lovegrass, a fire-adapted species from southern Africa. In 1999, the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service burned a remnant desert grassland to determine the effects of prescribed fire on shrub–perennial grass dynamics. The grassland also contained the nonnative perennial grass Lehmann lovegrass. I am reporting on a study that was initiated to determine whether prescribed burning would alter the vegetative community within and proximal to a Lehmann lovegrass–dominated patch. Cover of Lehmann lovegrass showed no significant response to the burn treatment. Of the dominant native species, only black grama and broom snakeweed had a significant year by treatment interaction. No species or growth form had a significant vegetation type by year by treatment interaction. After 6 yr, differences between burned and unburned transects were not significant for any species or growth form.
Nomenclature: Lehmann lovegrass, Eragrostis lehmanniana Nees, black grama, Bouteloua eriopoda (Torr.) Torr., broom snakeweed, Gutierrezia sarothrae (Pursh) Britt. & Rusby