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Postfire chaparral regeneration under mediterranean and non-mediterranean climates

January 1, 2012

This study compares postfire regeneration and diversity patterns in fire-prone chaparral shrublands from mediterranean (California) and non-mediterranean-type climates (Arizona). Vegetation sampling was conducted in tenth hectare plots with nested subplots for the first two years after fire. Floras in the two regions were compared with Jaccard's Index and importance of families and genera compared with dominance-diversity curves. Although there were 44 families in common between the two regions, the dominant families differed; Poaceae and Fabaceae in Arizona and Hydrophyllaceae and Rosaceae in California. Dominance diversity curves indicated in the first year a more equable distribution of families in Arizona than in California. Woody plants were much more dominant in the mediterranean climate and herbaceous plants more dominant in the bimodal rainfall climate. Species diversity was comparable in both regions at the lowest spatial scales but not at the tenth hectare scale. Due to the double growing season in the non-mediterranean region, the diversity for the first year comprised two different herbaceous floras in the fall and spring growing seasons. The Mediterranean climate in California, in contrast, had only a spring growing season and thus the total diversity for the first year was significantly greater in Arizona than in California for both annuals and herbaceous perennials. Chaparral in these two climate regimes share many dominant shrub species but the postfire communities are very different. Arizona chaparral has both a spring and fall growing season and these produce two very different postfire floras. When combined, the total annual diversity was substantially greater in Arizona chaparral.

Publication Year 2012
Title Postfire chaparral regeneration under mediterranean and non-mediterranean climates
DOI 10.3120/0024-9637-59.3.109
Authors Jon E. Keeley, Connie J. Fotheringham, Philip W. Rundel
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Madroño
Index ID 70124290
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center