, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 81-87
Date: 17 Jan 2009

The effects of fire on the regeneration of a Quercus douglasii stand in Quail Ridge Reserve, Berryessa Valley (California)

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Abstract

Wildfire is an important element in the dynamics of the blue oak (Quercus douglasii) stand. We evaluated the effect of fire in the regeneration of a stand in Quail Ridge. This protected area is located on a peninsula formed by the flooding of Berryessa Valley (California) which has helped it maintain many elements of the native flora. Major vegetation types are blue oak woodland and forest (Q. douglasii, Fagaceae), chamise chaparral (Adenostoma fasciculatum, Rosaceae), and grasslands. In the blue oak stand, 14 plots were randomly located: seven in the burned area and seven outside of the burned areas (control). The effect of fire on sexual regeneration, asexual regeneration, mortality and species composition was analyzed. The fire caused changes in canopy cover, soil cover and litter cover. Asexual regeneration was significantly favored by the fire, but the effect on sexual regeneration was not significant. Fire caused a significant reduction in the basal area of Q. wislizeni and Arctostaphylos manzanita and a reduction in the density of Heteromeles arbutifolia. We concluded that fire does not have a significant effect on the sexual regeneration of Q. douglasii or Q. wislizeni. Fire does stimulate asexual regeneration in both species of oaks, but grazing reduces the regenerative effect of fire. Fire increases regeneration of Arctostaphylos manzanita and Heteromeles arbutifolia by stimulating asexual and sexual regeneration. The occupancies of these chaparral species are further enhanced by their lower palatability compared to both species of oaks.