Post-fire seed predation: Does distance to unburnt vegetation matter?

Journal article


Taylor, Jennifer Elizabeth, Tasker, E. M., Denham, A. J. and Strevens, T. C.. (2011) Post-fire seed predation: Does distance to unburnt vegetation matter? Austral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere (print version). 36(7), pp. 755 - 766. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02214.x
AuthorsTaylor, Jennifer Elizabeth, Tasker, E. M., Denham, A. J. and Strevens, T. C.
Abstract

Human‐induced changes to fire regimes result in smaller, more patchy fires in many peri‐urban areas, with a concomitant increase in potential edge effects. In sclerophyll vegetation, many structurally dominant serotinous plants rely on the immediate post‐fire environment for recruitment. However, there is little information about how fire attributes affect seed predation or recruitment for these species. We examined the influence of distance to unburnt vegetation on post‐dispersal seed predation for five serotinous species from sclerophyll vegetation in the Sydney region, south‐eastern Australia; Banksia serrata L.f., Banksia spinulosa Sm. var. spinulosa, Hakea gibbosa (Sm.) Cav., Hakea teretifolia (Salisb.) Britten (all Proteaceae) and Allocasuarina distyla (Vent.) L. Johnson (Casuarinaceae). We used cafeteria trials and differential exclusion of vertebrates and invertebrates to test whether rates of seed removal for these five species differed among (i) unburnt, (ii) burnt‐edge (approx. 10 m from unburnt vegetation) and (iii) burnt‐interior (approx. 100 m from unburnt vegetation) locations. When all animals had access to seeds, seeds were removed at lower rates from burnt‐interior areas than from other locations. Vertebrates (small mammals) showed this pattern markedly the first time the experiment was run, but in a repeat trial this effect disappeared. Rate of seed removal by invertebrates differed among plant species but we did not detect any such differences for removal by vertebrates. Overall rates of seed removal also differed significantly between the two fires studied. Our results indicate that small mammal seed predation can be substantial for large‐seeded serotinous shrubs, and that differences in the perimeter: area ratio, severity or size of a fire are likely to affect seed predation.

Year2011
JournalAustral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere (print version)
Journal citation36 (7), pp. 755 - 766
ISSN1442-9985
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02214.x
Scopus EID2-s2.0-80055024613
Page range755 - 766
Research GroupSchool of Behavioural and Health Sciences
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