Post-fire plant regeneration in montane heath of the Wet Tropics, north-eastern Queensland

Williams , Paul, Kemp, Jeanette, Parsons, Mark, Devlin, Tim, Collins, Eleanor , and Williams, Stephen (2005) Post-fire plant regeneration in montane heath of the Wet Tropics, north-eastern Queensland. Royal Society of Queensland. Proceedings, 112. pp. 63-70.

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Abstract

This paper documents post-fire plant regeneration within a montane heath community of the Wet Tropics. A large proportion of heath plants on Bishop's Peak, Cardwell Range north of Ingham, was observed to resprout after fire, with only one species, Banksia plagiocarpa, a rare shrub that co-dominates the community, identified as a fire-killed, "obligate seeder". Species richness and the seedling density of the co-dominant shrub Allocasuarina littoralis were higher in recently burnt heath compared with sites that remained unburnt for eight years; and five species displayed significantly greater abundance in either recently burnt or unburnt heath. Two years after fire, the height of most A. littoralis plants, both resprouts and seedlings, was below 61cm, and of most B. plagiocarpa seedlings was below 21cm. Seedlings of these shrubs are not expected to begin producing seed for several more years or gain their mature heights until more than eighty years after fire. Therefore, although fire can promote seed germination and species richness in this significant community, fire at intervals of more than eight years are required to allow the maturation of shrubs.

Item ID: 1658
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Australia, fire ecology, heathlands, heathland ecology, shrubland ecology
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ISSN: 0080-469X
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2007
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060799 Plant Biology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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