Document Type



Disturbances such as fire, land clearing, and road building remove vegetation and can have major influences on public health through effects on air quality, aesthetics, recreational opportunities, natural resource availability, and economics. Plant recovery and succession following disturbance are poorly understood in arid lands relative to more temperate regions. This study quantitatively reviewed vegetation reestablishment following a variety of disturbances in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of southwestern North America. A total of 47 studies met inclusion criteria for the review. The time estimated by 29 individual studies for full reestablishment of total perennial plant cover was 76 years. Although long, this time was shorter than an estimated 215 years (among 31 individual studies) required for the recovery of species composition typical of undisturbed areas, assuming that recovery remains linear following the longest time since disturbance measurement made by the studies.


Arid land; Arid regions; California – Mojave Desert; Desert plants – Effect of fires on; Diversity; Dust – Control; Dust – Health aspects; Dust mitigation; Environmental degradation; Environmental health; Fire; Fire management; Management; North America – Sonoran Desert; Public health; Recovery; Resource damage; Revegetation; Wildfires – Environmental aspects


Desert Ecology | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Other Environmental Sciences | Other Plant Sciences

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