What drives grassland-forest boundaries? Assessing fire and frost effects on tree seedling survival and architecture

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.author Botha, Monique
dc.contributor.author Archibald, Sally
dc.contributor.author Greve, Michelle
dc.date.accessioned 2021-02-26T15:06:02Z
dc.date.available 2021-02-26T15:06:02Z
dc.date.issued 2020-10
dc.description.abstract 1. Fire and frost represent two major hurdles for the persistence of trees in open grassy biomes and have both been proposed as drivers of grassland-forest boundaries in Africa. 2. We assess the response of young tree seedlings, which represent a vulnerable stage in tree recruitment, to traumatic fire and frost disturbances. 3. In a greenhouse experiment, we investigated how seedling traits predicted survival and resprouting ability in response to fire versus frost; we characterized survival strategies of seedlings in response to the two disturbances, and we documented how the architecture of surviving seedlings is affected by fire versus frost injury. 4. Survival rates were similar under both treatments. However, different species displayed different levels of sensitivity to fire and frost. Seedling survival was higher for older seedlings and seedlings with more basal leaves. Survivors of a fire event lost more biomass than the survivors of a frost event. However, the architecture of recovered fire- and frost-treated seedlings was mostly similar. Seedlings that recovered from fire and frost treatments were often shorter than those that had not been exposed to any disturbance, with multiple thin branches, which may increase vulnerability to the next frost or fire event. 5. Synthesis. Fire caused more severe aboveground damage compared with a single frost event, suggesting that fire is an important driver of tree distribution in these open grassland systems. However, the impact of repeated frost events may be equally severe and needs to be investigated. Also, woody species composition may be influenced by phenomena that affect the timing and frequency of seedling exposure to damage, as mortality was found to be dependent on seedling age. Therefore, changes in fire regime and climate are likely to result in changes in the composition and the structure of the woody components of these systems. en_ZA
dc.description.department Plant Production and Soil Science en_ZA
dc.description.librarian pm2021 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship The National Research Foundation and the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. en_ZA
dc.description.uri http://www.ecolevol.org en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Botha M, Archibald S, Greve M. What drives grassland-forest boundaries? Assessing fire and frost effects on tree seedling survival and architecture. Ecology and Evolution 2020;10:10719–10734. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6730. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 2045-7758 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1016/j. sajb.2012.07.008
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/78875
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Wiley Open Access en_ZA
dc.rights © 2020 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. en_ZA
dc.subject Architectural traits en_ZA
dc.subject Demographic bottleneck en_ZA
dc.subject Fire adaptation en_ZA
dc.subject Frost adaptation en_ZA
dc.subject Sapling en_ZA
dc.subject Savanna en_ZA
dc.subject Survival strategy en_ZA
dc.title What drives grassland-forest boundaries? Assessing fire and frost effects on tree seedling survival and architecture en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA


Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record