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Biological Invasions

, Volume 16, Issue 12, pp 2697–2711 | Cite as

Long-term repeated burning reduces Lantana camara regeneration in a dry eucalypt forest

  • Valerie J. Debuse
  • Tom Lewis
Original Paper

Abstract

Previous short-term studies predict that the use of fire to manage lantana (Lantana camara) may promote its abundance. We tested this prediction by examining long-term recruitment patterns of lantana in a dry eucalypt forest in Australia from 1959 to 2007 in three fire frequency treatments: repeated annual burning, repeated triennial burning and long unburnt. The dataset was divided into two periods (1959–1972, 1974–2007) due to logging that occurred at the study site between 1972 and 1974 and the establishment of the triennial burn treatment in 1973. Our results showed that repeated burning decreased lantana regeneration under an annual burn regime in the pre- and post-logging periods and maintained low levels of regeneration in the triennial burn compartment during the post-logging period. In the absence of fire, lantana recruitment exhibited a dome-shaped response over time, with the total population peaking in 1982 before declining to 2007. In addition to fire regime, soil pH and carbon to nitrogen ratio, the density of taller conspecifics and the interaction between rainfall and fire regime were found to influence lantana regeneration change over time. The results suggest that the reported positive association between fire disturbance and abundance of lantana does not hold for all forest types and that fire should be considered as part of an integrated weed management strategy for lantana in more fire-tolerant ecosystems.

Keywords

Fire Weeds Management Density-dependence Rainfall 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work is based on long-term fire frequency experiments maintained by the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and we are grateful to the pioneering scientists from the Department of Forestry for their foresight in establishing these experiments. We thank all past and current DAFF staff that have maintained and measured these experiments. In particular, we thank and remember Donna Richardson for her assistance with measuring the plots in 2007, who sadly passed away prior to the writing of this manuscript. We are very grateful to Tony Swain, who helped with analysis, and are very appreciative of the continued assistance we receive from Queensland Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sports and Racing and the Queensland Rural Fire Service to maintain the treatments. We are grateful to the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, who funded the project through the Weeds of National Significance program and especially thank Kym Johnson for her support of this research. Finally, we thank Professor Curt Daehler and an anonymous referee for their constructive comments on the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Australia as represented by the University of the Sunshine Coast 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and EngineeringUniversity of the Sunshine CoastMaroochydore DCAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Science, Health, Education and EngineeringUniversity of the Sunshine CoastMaroochydore DCAustralia
  3. 3.Environmental Futures Research InstituteGriffith UniversityGold Coast Mail CentreAustralia

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