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

Fire effects on seed relaease and the emergence and establishment of seedlings in Banksia ericifolia. L.f

RA Bradstock and PJ Myerscough

Australian Journal of Botany 29(5) 521 - 531
Published: 1981

Abstract

Fire intensity and seasonality affected the release of seed in Banksia ericifolia L.f, and the post-fire emergence of seedlings. Mean maximum temperatures recorded in a heathland burn in May 1977 at heights of 0.5, 2 and 3 m were about 400, 275 and 175°C respectively. Variability in maximum temperature was dependent on the age and position of B. ericifolia stands.

Release of seed held on B. ericifolia bushes increased significantly after fire. The proportion of seed released on unburnt controls stayed constant. Seeds were released earlier and quicker from cones exposed to high fire temperature maxima than from those exposed to low fire temperature maxima. Up to 80% of the seed bank was released 95 days after the fire.

A greater proportion of the seed bank emerged and established as seedlings 5 months after the fire in May than after a fire the previous February. Seedling emergence and mortality were broadly related to rainfall over this period.

The relationship between various fire regimes and abundance in B. ericifolia populations is discussed.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/BT9810521

© CSIRO 1981


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