Regeneration after fire in Triodia R. Br

B. Rice, M. Westoby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hummock grasses in the genus Triodia R. Br. were examined at 116 recently burned locations across mainland Australia, and were recorded as regenerating by resprouting, or by seed only. Prior to this survey it was known that the capacity to resprout varies considerably in Triodia, but it was unclear whether some species might be entirely resprouting and other species entirely fire-killed; whether this might be associated with particular traits of species or particular landscape types; or whether resprouting might be more common in particular regions such as the northern monsoonal grasslands. Seven species had both fire-killed and resprouting populations represented among the sites examined. Three species [T. basedowii E. Pritzel, T. marginata N.T. Burbidge and T. melvillei (C.E. Hubbard) Lazarides] were recorded as fire-killed at all sites examined, and five species [T. bynoei (C.E. Hubbard) Lazarides, T. bunicola (S.W.L. Jacobs) Lazarides, T. intermedia Cheel, T. molesta N.T. Burbidge and T. spicata N.T. Burbidge] were recorded as resprouting at all sites. Another seven species were recorded at one site only. There was no clear overall trend for fire-killed populations to be more prevalent in south rather than north, or east vs west, or coastal vs inland parts of the continent. No clear relationships were found between regeneration strategy and site attributes. Considered as a group, resprouting species were more likely to have an open growth form than a dense growth form, whereas the opposite was true for fire-killed species. Given that no trait either of species or of landscape was found to be a consistent correlate of resprouting, a likely inference is that resprouting might vary between different fires, even for a given population at a given site. Against this inference, fire-killed populations had substantial densities of seedlings much more often. Longitudinal studies would be needed to demonstrate directly whether resprouting varied between different fires at a site, and to investigate the implications of this for maintenance or extinction of local populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-572
Number of pages10
JournalAustral Ecology
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999

Keywords

  • arid
  • Australia
  • fire
  • hummock grasslands
  • life history
  • seedling establishment

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