Into the Wild: Vegetation, Alien Plants, and Familiar Fire at the Exurban Frontier



The spatial expansion of human populations threatens or alters ecosystems on much of the country’s privately owned exurban land. These impacts affect the many ways that plants, animals, and environments interact and influence one another. This chapter considers exurban impacts to plant habitat, plant species, plant community structure, ecological processes, and social conditions within, nearby, and at a distance from development. The properties of major vegetation eco-regions in the United States are described and how and why exurban development alters ecological processes over varying spatial and temporal scales is explained. Issues such as fire suppression, land fragmentation, and the introduction of nonnative vegetation are discussed as artifacts of exurban land development. The chapter also draws on the research literature to discuss why specific development densities and configurations are best suited for particular vegetation regimes and points to the mitigation techniques that have proven most successful.


Plant Community Fire Regime Public Land Fire Suppression Prescribe Burning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author thanks Paul Starrs, Cathy Bleier, and Peter Meyer.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and ManagementUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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