Effect of season of burning and removal of herbaceous cover on seedling emergence in a eucalypt savanna of north-eastern Australia

Williams, Paul R., Congdon, Robert A., Grice, Anthony C., and Clarke, Peter J. (2005) Effect of season of burning and removal of herbaceous cover on seedling emergence in a eucalypt savanna of north-eastern Australia. Austral Ecology, 30 (5). pp. 491-496.

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Abstract

Seedling emergence in a eucalypt savanna of north-eastern Australia was documented over a 12-month period, between May 1999 and May 2000. Seedling emergence for grasses, forbs and subshrubs was found to mainly occur in a brief pulse at the start of the wet season following fire or the removal of grass biomass. Only a minor number of tree and shrub seedlings were detected overall. Burning, or cutting away the grass layer in unburnt savanna, in both the early (i.e. May) and the late (i.e. October) dry seasons significantly increased seedling emergence over undisturbed savanna that had been unburnt for 3 years. Removing the grass layer in unburnt savanna, during either the early or the late dry season, triggered similar seedling densities to savanna burnt in the early dry season. Late dry season fires promoted the greatest seedling density. We attribute this to the higher intensity, late dry season fires releasing a greater proportion of seed from dormancy, coupled with the higher density of soil seed reserves present in the late dry season.

Item ID: 177
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1442-9993
Keywords: fire regime, Northern Australia, savanna, seed dormancy, seedling emergence, soil seed bank
Additional Information:

Copyright 2005 Blackwell Publishing. The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com

Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2006
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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