Advertisement

Plant Ecology

, Volume 174, Issue 1, pp 183–196 | Cite as

Delayed post-fire seedling emergence linked to season: a case study with Leucopogon species (Epacridaceae)

  • Mark K.J. Ooi
  • Tony D. Auld
  • Robert J. Whelan
Article

Abstract

In many fire-prone habitats around the world, natural fire regimes have shaped the evolution of the associated flora. Critical life history stages are often linked to fire in species that occur in these fire-prone habitats but many species are unstudied. We investigated seedling emergence patterns over time, after several fires in south-eastern Australia, for three obligate seeders in the Genus Leucopogon (Family Epacridaceae): L. setiger, L. esquamatus and L. exolasius. Fixed quadrats were monitored for 12 to 30 months for newly emerged seedlings, both after fire and in unburnt L. exolasius and L. esquamatus habitats. There was a flush of seedling emergence in the first year after fire for all three Leucopogon species, with smaller pulses recorded in subsequent years. Time elapsed between fire and the onset of emergence differed between fires, but not between Leucopogon species. Whatever the timing of the fire, seedling emergence was restricted to the late autumn and winter periods, coinciding with emergence in unburnt habitat. This contrasts with patterns of emergence previously reported for other taxa, and also in this study, where emergence of the Leucopogon species after fire was delayed compared with co-occurring species in other genera. Our results suggest that seasonal factors are important to the germination ecology of these species and that combinations of fire-related and seasonal factors are necessary to maximise germination. Rainfall has a non-seasonal pattern in the study region and seasonal emergence post-fire has not previously been recorded. The magnitude of delay to emergence of species with seasonal emergence patterns will be determined by the season of fire but not by a seasonal pattern of rainfall in the post-fire year. A shift of the peak fire season could increase this delay, possibly affecting plant population recovery.

Fire season Germination Non-seasonal rainfall pattern Seed dormancy South-eastern Australia 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Auld T.D. 1987. Population dynamics of the shrub Acacia suaveo-lens (Sm.) Willd.: survivorship throughout the life cycle, a synthesis. Australian Journal of Ecology 12: 139–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Auld T.D. and Bradstock R.A. 1996. Soil temperatures after the passage of a fire: do they influence the germination of buried seeds? Australian Journal of Ecology 21: 106–109.Google Scholar
  3. Auld T. D. and O'Connell M.A. 1991. Predicting patterns of post-fire germination in 35 eastern Australian Fabaceae. Australian Journal of Ecology 16: 53–70.Google Scholar
  4. Auld T.D. and Tozer M. 1995. Patterns in emergence of Acacia and Grevillea seedlings after fire. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of NSW 115: 5–15.Google Scholar
  5. Auld T.D., Keith D.A. and Bradstock R.A. 2000. Patterns in lon-gevity of soil seedbanks in fire-prone communities of south-eastern Australia. Australian Journal of Botany 48: 539–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baskin C.C. and Baskin J.M. 1998. Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination. Academic Press, San Diego.Google Scholar
  7. Beardsell D. and Richards D. 1987. Ecological aspects of seed ger-mination. In: Langkamp P.J. (ed.), Germination of Australian Native Plant Seed. Inkata Press, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 14–19.Google Scholar
  8. Bell D.T. 1999. Turner review No. 1: The process of germination in Australian species. Australian Journal of Botany 47: 475–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bell D.T, Plummer J.A. and Taylor S.K. 1993. Seed germination ecology in south-western Western Australia. The Botanical Re-view 59: 24–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bell T.L. and Pate J.S. 1996. Growth and fire response of selected Epacridaceae of south-western Australia. Australian Journal of Botany 44: 509–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bond W.J. and van Wilgen B.W. 1996. Fire and Plants. Chapman and Hall, London, UK.Google Scholar
  12. Bradstock R.A. and Bedward M. 1992. Simulation of the effect of season of fire on post-fire seedling emergence of two Banksia species based on long-term rainfall records. Australian Journal of Botany 40: 75–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bradstock R.A. and O'Connell M.A. 1988. Demography of woody plants in relation to fire: Banksia ericifolia L.f. and Petrophile pulchella (Schrad) R.Br. Australian Journal of Ecology 13: 505–518.Google Scholar
  14. Bradstock R.A., Bedward M., Kenny B.J. and Scott J. 1998. Spa-tially-explicit simulation of the effect of prescribed burning on fire regimes and plant extinctions in shrublands typical of south-eastern Australia. Biological Conservation 86: 83–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bradstock R.A., Williams J.E. and Gill A.M. 2002. Flammable Australia: the Fire Regimes and Biodiversity of a Continent. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  16. Brits G.J. 1986. Influence of fluctuating temperatures and H2 O2 treatment on germination of Leucospermum cordifolium and Serruria florida (Proteaceae) seeds. South African Journal of Botany 52: 286–290.Google Scholar
  17. Brown C.L. and Whelan R.J. 1999. Seasonal occurrence of fire and availability of germinable seeds in Hakea sericea and Petrophile sessilis. Journal of Ecology 87: 932–941.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Carrington M.E. 1999. Post-fire establishment in Florida sand pine scrub.Journal of Vegetation Science 10: 403–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Carrington M.E. and Keeley J.E. 1999. Comparison of post-fire seedling establishment between scrub communities in Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean climate ecosystems. Journal of Ecology 87: 1025–1036.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Clarke P.J., Davison E.A. and Fulloon L. 2000. Germination and dormancy of grassy woodland and forest species: effects of smoke, heat, darkness and cold. Australian Journal of Botany 48: 687–700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Conroy R.J. 1996. To burn or not to burn? A description of the history, nature and management of bushfires within Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of NSW 116: 79–95.Google Scholar
  22. Critchlow D.E. and Fligner M.A. 1991. On distribution-free multiple comparisons in the one-way analysis of variance. Communications of Statistical Theory and Methods 20: 127–139.Google Scholar
  23. de Lange J.H. and Boucher C. 1993. Autecological studies on Audouinia capitata (Bruniaceae). 8. Role of fire in regeneration. South African Journal of Botany 59: 188–202.Google Scholar
  24. Denham A.J. and Auld T.D. 2002. Flowering, seed dispersal, seed predation and seedling recruitment in two pyrogenic flowering resprouters. Australian Journal of Botany 50: 545–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dixon K.W., Roche S. and Pate J.S. 1995. The promotive effect of smoke derived from burnt vegetation on seed germination of western Australian plants. Oecologia 101: 185–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Enright N.J., Goldblum D., Ata P. and Ashton D.H. 1997. The independent effects of heat, smoke and ash on emergence of seed-lings from the soil seed bank of a heathy Eucalyptus woodland in Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park, western Victoria. Australian Journal of Ecology 22: 81–88.Google Scholar
  27. Fox J., Dixon B. and Monk D. 1987. Germination in other plant families. In: Langkamp P.J. (ed.), Germination of Australian Native Plant Seed. Inkata Press, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 211–223.Google Scholar
  28. Gill A.M. 1981. Adaptive responses of Australian vascular plant species to fire. In: Gill A.M., Groves R. and Noble I. (eds), Fire and the Australian Biota. Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, Australia, pp. 243–271.Google Scholar
  29. Gilmour C.A., Crowden R.K. and Koutoulis A. 2000. Heat shock, smoke and darkness: partner cues in promoting seed germina-tion in Epacris tasmanica (Epacridaceae). Australian Journal of Botany 48: 603–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Harden G.J. 1992. Flora of New South Wales, Volume 3. Univer-sity of New South Wales Press, Kensington.Google Scholar
  31. Jhurree B., Bellairs S.M. and Hetherington S.E. 1998. Germination and dormancy release of seeds of Australian native understorey species used for minesite rehabilitation. Seed Science and Technology 26: 587–601.Google Scholar
  32. Jones R.H., Allen B.P. and Sharitz R.R. 1997. Why do early-emerging tree seedlings have survival advantages?: a test using Acer rubrum (Aceraceae). American Journal of Botany 84: 1714–1718.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Keeley J.E. 1987. Role of fire in seed germination of woody taxa in California chaparral. Ecology 68: 434–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Keeley J.E. 1991. Seed germination and life history syndromes in the California chaparral. Botanical Review 57: 81–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Keeley J.E. 1995. Seed-germination patterns in fire-prone Mediter-ranean-climate regions. In: Kalin Arroyo M.T., Zedler P.H. and Fox M.D. (eds.), Ecology and Biogeography of Mediterranean Ecosystems in Chile, California, and Australia. Springer-Verlag, New York, USA, pp. 239–273.Google Scholar
  36. Keeley J.E. and Fotheringham C.J. 2000. Role of fire in regeneration from seed. In: Fenner M. (ed.), Seeds: The Ecology of Regeneration in Plant Communities. 2nd Edition. CAB Interna-tional, Wallingford, pp. 311–330.Google Scholar
  37. Keighery G.J. 1996. Phytogeography, biology and conservation of Western Australia Epacridaceae. Annals of Botany 77: 347–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Keith D.A. 1996. Fire-driven extinction of plant populations: a synthesis of theory and review of evidence from Australian veg-etation. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of NSW 116: 37–78.Google Scholar
  39. Keith D.A. 1997. Combined effects of heat shock, smoke and darkness on germination of Epacris stuartii Stapf., an endan-gered fire-prone Australian shrub. Oecologia 112: 340–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Keith D.A. 2002. Population dynamics of an endangered heathland shrub, Epacris stuartii (Epacridaceae): Recruitment, establish-ment and survival. Austral Ecology 27: 67–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Keith D.A., McCaw W.L. and Whelan R.J. 2002. Fire regimes in Australian heathlands and their effects on plants and animals. In: Bradstock R.A., Williams J.E. and Gill A.M. (eds.), Flammable Australia: the Fire Regimes and Biodiversity of a Continent. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 199–237.Google Scholar
  42. Kenny B.J. 2000. Influence of multiple fire-related germination cues on three Sydney Grevillea (Proteaceae) species. Austral Ecology 25: 664–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kron K.A., Judd W.S., Stevens P.F., Crayn D.M., Anderberg A.A., Gadek P.A., Quinn C.J. and Luteyn J.L. 2002. Phylogenetic classification of Ericaceae: molecular and morphological evi-dence. Botanical Review 68: 335–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kruger F.J. and Bigalke R.C. 1984. Fire in fynbos. In: de Van Booysen P. and Tainton N.M. (eds.), Ecological Effects of Fire in South African Ecosystems. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 69–94.Google Scholar
  45. le Maitre D.C. and Midgley J.J. 1992. Plant reproductive ecology. In: Cowling R. (ed.), The Ecology of Fynbos: Nutrients, Fire and Diversity. Oxford University Press, Cape Town, pp. 135–174.Google Scholar
  46. McLoughlin L.C. 1998. Season of burning in the Sydney region: the historical records compared with recent prescribed burning. Australian Journal of Ecology 23: 393–404.Google Scholar
  47. Meney K.A., Nielssen G.M. and Dixon K.W. 1994. Seed bank pat-terns in Restionaceae and Epacridaceae after wildfire in Kwon-gan in southwestern Australia. Journal of Vegetation Science 5: 5–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Naveh Z. 1994. The role of fire and its management in the conser-vation of Mediterranean ecosystems and landscapes. In: Moreno J.M. and Oechel W.C. (eds.), The Role of Fire in Mediterranean-type Ecosystems. Springer-Verlag, New York, USA, pp. 163–185.Google Scholar
  49. Noble I.R. and Slatyer R.O. 1980. The use of vital attributes to predict successional changes inplant communities subject to re-current disturbances. Vegetatio 43: 2–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Ooi M.K.J. 2002. Fire response and seedling emergence patterns of Leucopogon (Epacridaceae) in south-eastern Australia. Masters (Hons) thesis, University of Wollongong.Google Scholar
  51. Purdie R.W. 1977. Early stages of regeneration after burning in dry sclerophyll vegetation. I. Regeneration of the understorey by vegetative means. Australian Journal of Botany 25: 1–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sonia L. and Heslehurst M.R. 1978. Germination characteristics of some Banksia species. Australian Journal of Ecology 3: 179–186.Google Scholar
  53. Stern H., de Hoedt G. and Ernst J. 2000. Objective classification of Australian climates. Australian Meteorological Magazine 49: 87–96.Google Scholar
  54. Trabaud L. 1994. Postfire plant community dynamics in the Medi-terranean basin. In: Moreno J.M. and Oechel W.C. (eds.), The Role of Fire in Mediterranean-type Ecosystems. Springer-Verlag, New York, USA, pp. 1–15.Google Scholar
  55. Tyler C.M. 1995. Factors contributing to postfire seedling estab-lishment in chaparral: direct and indirect effects of fire. Journal of Ecology 83: 1009–1020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Whelan R.J. 1985. Patterns of recruitment to plant populations af-ter fire in Western Australia and Florida. Proceedings of the Ecological Society of Australia 14: 169–178.Google Scholar
  57. Whelan R.J. 1995. The Ecology of Fire. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  58. Whelan R.J. and York J. 1998. Post-fire germination of Hakea sericea and Petrophile sessilis after spring burning. Australian Journal of Botany 46: 367–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Whelan R.J., de Jong N. and von der Burg S. 1998. Variation in bradyspory and seedling recruitment without fire among populations of Banksia serrata (Proteaceae). Australian Journal of Ecology 23: 121–128.Google Scholar
  60. Whelan R.J., Rodgerson L., Dickman C.R. and Sutherland E.F. 2002. Critical life cycles of plants and animals: developing a process-based understanding of population changes in fire-prone landscapes. In: Bradstock R.A., Williams J.E. and Gill A.M. (eds.), Flammable Australia: the Fire Regimes and Biodiversity of a Continent. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 94–124.Google Scholar
  61. Zammit C. and Westoby M. 1987. Seedling recruitment strategies in obligate-seeding and resprouting Banksia shrubs. Ecology 68: 1984–1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark K.J. Ooi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tony D. Auld
    • 1
  • Robert J. Whelan
    • 2
  1. 1.Biodiversity Research and Management DivisionBiodiversity Research GroupHurstvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Institute for Conservation BiologyDepartment of Biological SciencesAustralia

Personalised recommendations