Relevance of soil seed bank and seed rain to immediate seed supply after a large wildfire

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Abstract

We examined the density and composition of the immediate seed supply (i.e. instant potential post-fire germination from soil seed bank and off-site seed rain) after a large wildfire in a sub-Mediterranean pine forest. We also tested the effects of fire severity and distance from unburned edges on the density and composition of the seed bank and the immediate off-site seed rain. Our results showed that although seed density did not differ between them, their composition was markedly different. The soil seed bank was dominated by species from the Fabaceae family with limited dispersal mechanisms such as autochory and barochory, whereas the seed rain was mainly composed of species from the Asteraceae family with wind-dispersed seeds. These patterns were not affected either by fire severity or distance from the fire edge. The main conclusion of the study is that both the soil seed bank and the seed rain play an important role in providing seeds for immediate regeneration after a large wildfire throughout the burned area. We suggest that the role of seed rain on immediate post-fire recovery of Mediterranean plant communities might be more important than has previously been thought. However, the effective role of this group of species on the longer term should be evaluated. © IAWF 2012.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-458
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Volume21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2012

Keywords

  • Mediterranean basin
  • fire severity
  • pine forests
  • plant community

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