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Species and Vegetation Responses to Prescribed Fire in a Long-Unburned, Endemic-Rich Lake Wales Ridge Scrub

Carl W. Weekley and Eric S. Menges
The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society
Vol. 130, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 2003), pp. 265-282
Published by: Torrey Botanical Society
DOI: 10.2307/3557545
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3557545
Page Count: 18
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Species and Vegetation Responses to Prescribed Fire in a Long-Unburned, Endemic-Rich Lake Wales Ridge Scrub
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Abstract

We studied the effects of prescribed fire on a long-unburned oak scrub on the Lake Wales Ridge of central Florida. We quantified postburn survival of 12 endemic plants by censusing tagged individuals before and after fire, assessed postfire changes in the composition and structure of the scrub community, and investigated the effect of postfire cover changes in subcanopy, shrub, litter, lichen and Polygonella myriophylla on herb abundance. We found that eight of the 12 endemics had postburn resprouting rates varying from ~15% to 98%, while four species were killed by fire. Postburn reductions in subcanopy, shrub, litter, lichen and P. myriophylla cover were paralleled by increases in the abundance of scrub herbs. While some scrub herbs resprouted, most postburn increases in herb abundance were due to seedling recruitment.

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