Does fire induce flowering in Brazilian subtropical grasslands?

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2014-10-01

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Wiley-Blackwell

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QuestionsWe aimed to analyse the effect of fire on flowering in subtropical grasslands, by addressing the following questions: will fire history affect flowering? If yes, do fire feedbacks influence flowering or is it just the removal of above-ground biomass? Are there differences in burned and mowed plots?LocationSubtropical grasslands in Southern Brazil (30 degrees 03S, 51 degrees 07W).MethodsWe established plots in areas with different fire histories: 30d (30 plots: five replicates), 1yr (14 replicates), 3yr (30 plots: five replicates) since the last fire, in experimentally burned and mowed plots (14 replicates each). We counted the number of flowering species, as well as the number of flowering stalks.ResultsGraminoid species flowered in highest numbers 1yr after fire, whilst forbs had more species flowering just after fire, indicating different reproductive strategies in post-fire environments. Mowing was not as efficient as fire in stimulating flowering. Finally, the different functional groups showed different flowering responses to time since last fire and to the different types of management.ConclusionsOur results show fire stimulated flowering. Although mowing can be a good alternative for maintaining plant diversity, our study showed that this practice is not as efficient as fire in stimulating flowering. However, fire season should be noted as a limiting factor to the recovery of C-3 grasses in these subtropical grasslands, and annual burns may be harmful to C-4 grasses, since they delay their flowering to the next post-fire growing season.

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Inglês

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Applied Vegetation Science. Hoboken: Wiley-blackwell, v. 17, n. 4, p. 690-699, 2014.

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