Tuesday, 18 November 2003: 11:30 AM
The effect of season of fire on the recovery of Florida scrubPoster PDF (185.2 kB)
Florida scrub is a xeromorphic shrubland that is maintained by frequent fires. Historically, these fires occurred during the summer due to lightning ignition. Today, Florida scrub is often managed by the use of prescribed burning. Prescribed burning of scrub has been implemented on Kennedy Space Center/Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (KSC/MINWR) since 1981, with burns being carried out throughout the year. The impacts of the season of burn on recovery are not known. Long-term monitoring of scrub regeneration has been conducted since the early-1980ís at KSC/MINWR using permanent 15 m line-intercept transects. We obtained data from eight transects that were subjected to a winter burn in 1986 and a summer burn in 1997 and compared the recovery of the stand for the first five years postburn. There was no difference in height growth between the winter and summer burns; both were approximately 85 cm tall five years postburn. Initially, the summer burn had a larger percentage of bare ground, but within a year postburn the amount of bare ground was similar. Total percent cover ( > 0.5m) was lower during the recovery from the 1997 summer burn than from the winter burn, whereas total percent cover ( < 0.5m) was greater. The postfire growth response of the majority of the dominant species was similar for the winter and summer burns. However the percent cover of Quercus geminata was lower after the summer burn than the winter burn. The percent cover of Lyonia lucida was similar for the first 36 months postburn, after that a lower percent cover was exhibited in the summer burn.