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Is buffelgrass an invasive species in the Sonoran Desert?

African buffelgrass is spreading rapidly in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona, creating novel fire risks in both natural and urban areas and threatening conservation efforts. Left unchecked, buffelgrass will dominate the desert landscape and could cause regular, fast-moving wildfires that can burn neighborhoods, ruin viewscapes, close popular attractions, and even interrupt essential services. Urban areas that are expanding most rapidly now have to plan growth, development, and protection of public safety around a fast-evolving fire risk. The growing fire risk and environmental damage can harm tourism, decrease property values, and make it harder to attract good employers and retain high-skilled workers. Buffelgrass invasion also jeopardizes ecosystem health, ecological goods and services, and conservation measures, including protection of threatened and endangered species.

Tags: Vegetation, Wildlife, Ecosystems, Biodiversity, Desert, Wildfires, Conservation