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Resprouting and mortality of juvenile eucalypts in an Australian savanna: impacts of fire season and annual sorghum

Werner, Patricia; Franklin, Donald C.

Description

In northern Australian savannas, canopy tree species often have juvenile tree banks that are composed mainly of small individuals of indeterminate age that have resprouted repeatedly after fire. Little is known about their demography. We report the initial responses (mortality, topkill and resprouting type) of 3133 marked juvenile eucalypts to set fires of different seasons (early dry season, late dry season, wet season, unburnt) in a 32400m2 field experiment. Fire treatments were repeated in...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorWerner, Patricia
dc.contributor.authorFranklin, Donald C.
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T22:56:49Z
dc.identifier.issn0067-1924
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/60394
dc.description.abstractIn northern Australian savannas, canopy tree species often have juvenile tree banks that are composed mainly of small individuals of indeterminate age that have resprouted repeatedly after fire. Little is known about their demography. We report the initial responses (mortality, topkill and resprouting type) of 3133 marked juvenile eucalypts to set fires of different seasons (early dry season, late dry season, wet season, unburnt) in a 32400m2 field experiment. Fire treatments were repeated in plots dominated by a native annual grass (sorghum) that becomes senescent before the early dry season and provides the main fuel of savanna fires, and in others with little or no sorghum, but instead other native grasses and forbs that remain green well into the dry season. Most juvenile eucalypts 150cm high were topkilled but resprouted from underground tissues regardless of fire season or understorey (86-100% vs 5% in unburnt plots). Few saplings 200-500cm high died or were topkilled, but impacts of fire were harsher in sorghum than in non-sorghum vegetation. The response of eucalypts 150199cm high was intermediate, suggesting a 'tactical' transition from suppressed persistence to growth toward maturity. Counter-intuitively, genet death of juvenile trees was 22% in the low-intensity early dry season fire in plots with little or no annual sorghum, compared with 2% in all other fire/understorey combinations. We suggest results are related to fire behaviour, seasonal carbohydrate storage dynamics and competition with ground-layer plants.
dc.publisherCSIRO Publishing
dc.sourceAustralian Journal of Botany
dc.subjectKeywords: canopy; carbohydrate; demography; evergreen tree; fire behavior; grass; juvenile; maturation; mortality; resprouting; savanna; seasonality; sorghum; understory; Australia; Poaceae
dc.titleResprouting and mortality of juvenile eucalypts in an Australian savanna: impacts of fire season and annual sorghum
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume58
dc.date.issued2010
local.identifier.absfor060201 - Behavioural Ecology
local.identifier.ariespublicationU4279067xPUB537
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationWerner, Patricia, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationFranklin, Donald C., Charles Darwin University
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage1
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage10
local.identifier.doi10.1071/BT10139
local.identifier.absseo960899 - Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of environments not elsewhere classified
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T10:51:49Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-78650119757
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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