Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Post-fire Seedling Recruitment in Coastal Heathland in Relation to Regeneration Strategy and Habitat

Andrew S. Benwell

Australian Journal of Botany 46(1) 75 - 101
Published: 1998


Post-fire seedling recruitment was studied at six heathland sites near Evans Head, north-eastern NSW, in a range of habitats from dry to wet sand-heath. Species fire responses were recorded and seedling density, seedling survival and seedling shoot-growth rate were monitored for 3 years. There were marked differences in total seedling density and survivorship in different habitats, caused by several possible factors. Obligate seeders and facultative resprouters were found to have overlapping yet broadly distinctive patterns of seedling recruitment behaviour. Facultative resprouters as a group had significantly lower levels of seedling density and survival than obligate seeders. Six species exhibited ecotypic variation in mode of regeneration, five accompanied by marked changes in seedling density. Patterns of seedling recruitment behaviour in relation to fire response and habitat were consistent with the theory that resprouting is a stress-tolerant regeneration strategy and that for a given species regeneration strategy is linked with habitat quality.

© CSIRO 1998

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