Fire in South African Mountain Fynbos

Ecosystem, Community and Species Response at Swartboskloof
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Hubertus J. van Hensbergen
532 g
236x154x25 mm

1 The Swartboskloof Experimental Site.- 1.1 Introduction.- 1.2 Location and Physical Site Description.- 1.3 Land-Use History.- 1.4 The Vegetation of Swartboskloof.- 1.4.1 Specialized Hygrophilous Communities.- 1.4.2 Short to Tall Proteoid Shrublands.- 1.4.3 Ericoid-Restioid Shrublands.- 1.4.4 Short Riparian Forest Communities.- 1.4.5 Tall Forests.- 1.5 Fauna.- 1.6 Research Rationale and Design.- 1.7 The Fire of March 1987.- Acknowledgements.- 2 The Climate of Swartboskloof.- 2.1 Introduction.- 2.2 The Climate of Swartboskloof in a Mediterranean-Climate Context.- 2.3 Important Climatic Parameters.- 2.3.1 Rainfall.- 2.3.2 Temperature and Vapour Pressure Deficit.- 2.3.3 Radiation.- 2.3.4 Evaporation.- 2.3.5 Wind.- 2.3.6 Periods of Drought.- 2.4 The Influence of Climate on Fire.- 2.4.1 Lightning as an Ignition Source.- 2.4.2 Climate and the Probability of Fire.- 2.5 Conclusions.- Acknowledgements.- 3 Fuel Properties of Vegetation in Swartboskloof.- 3.1 Introduction.- 3.2 The Description of Vegetation as Fuel.- 3.2.1 Subdivision of Biomass into Fuel Classes.- 3.2.2 Fuel Arrangement.- 3.2.3 Fuel Energy Contents.- 3.2.4 Fuel Models.- 3.2.5 Fuel Buildup and Decay.- 3.3 The Fuel Properties of Vegetation in Swartboskloof.- 3.3.1 Fuel Loads, Fuel Buildup and the Probability of Fire.- 3.3.2 Fuel Arrangement.- 3.3.3 Seasonal Trends in Fuel Moisture Content.- 3.3.4 Live Plants.- 3.3.5 Dead Fuel Moisture.- 3.3.6 Energy and Crude Fat Contents of Selected Species..- 3.4 Fire in Fynbos and Forest Patches in Swartboskloof..- 3.5 The Effects of Invasion by Alien Trees and Shrubs on Fuel Properties.- 3.6 Fuel in Swartboskloof and Other Ecosystems.- 3.7 Conclusions.- 4 Regeneration Strategies in Fynbos Plants and Their Influence on the Stability of Community Boundaries After Fire.- 4.1 Introduction.- 4.2 Survival Mechanisms and Vital Attributes of Species.- 4.2.1 Systems for the Classification of Species.- 4.2.2 Selection and Characterization of Species.- 4.3 Results and Discussion.- 4.3.1 Spectra of Fire Response and Vital Attribute Types..- 4.3.2 Age at Maturity.- 4.3.3 Longevity of Individuals and Seed Banks.- 4.3.4 The Timing of Critical Life History Events.- 4.3.5 Differences Between Communities.- 4.3.6 Fire and the Stability of Community Boundaries.- 4.3.7 Comparison to Other Fire-Prone Shrublands.- 4.3.8 Fire, Resilience and Dynamics in Fynbos.- Acknowledgements.- 5 Is Fynbos a Stage in Succession to Forest? Analysis of the Perceived Ecological Distinction Between Two Communities.- 5.1 Introduction.- 5.2 Fire and the Stability of Forest/Fynbos Boundaries.- 5.2.1 The Effects of Fire on Forest Boundaries in Swartboskloof.- 5.2.2 Soil Seed Banks.- 5.3 Colonization of Fynbos by Forest Species.- 5.3.1 Post-Fire Seed Deposition.- 5.3.2 Germination Requirements.- 5.3.3 Development of Forest in Fynbos Between Fires.- 5.4 Factors Influencing Forest Development.- 5.4.1 The Role of Nutrients in Forest Development.- 5.4.2 Soil Moisture.- 5.4.3 Historical Factors.- 5.5 Synthesis.- 5.5.1 Fynbos Succession.- 5.5.2 Determinants of the Rate of Succession.- Acknowledgements.- 6 Coexistence of Seeders and Sprouters in a Fire-Prone Environment: the Role of Ecophysiology and Soil Moisture.- 6.1 Introduction.- 6.2 Ecophysiological Characteristics of Seeders and Sprouters in Swartboskloof.- 6.3 Comparison of Swartboskloof with Other Regions.- 6.3.1 Other Fynbos Areas.- 6.3.2 Californian Chaparral.- 6.3.3 Australian Kwongan.- 6.4 Community Composition Along a Moisture Gradient.- 6.5 Conclusions.- Acknowledgements.- 7 The Relative Advantages of Seeding and Sprouting in Fire-Prone Environments: a Comparison of Life Histories of Protea neriifolia and Protea nitida.- 7.1 Introduction.- 7.1.1 Evolution of Seed Regeneration in Mediterranean Shrublands.- 7.1.2 Trade-Offs Linked to Seeding and Sprouting.- 7.1.3 Hypotheses.- 7.2 Population Growth after Fire.- 7.3 Mortality Rates.- 7.3.1 Protea neriifolia.- 7.3.2 Protea nitida.- 7.4 Age at Maturity.- 7.5 Seed Production
Ecologists are increasingly being drawn into the task of addressing problems of environmental degradation. They are expected to find solutions that will lead to sustainable resource use throughout the world. In doing so, the robustness of the science becomes increasingly important, and the problem of extrapolating the results of research conducted within what is usually a relatively limited geographical scope is increasingly highlighted. One approach to developing a globally robust ecology involves more or less formal intercontinental comparative studies, usually focused on the question of ecological convergence. These studies are directed at testing the prediction that similar physical and other environmental factors in different parts of the world, through their selective influences, will give rise to ecosystems which share com mon structural and functional features. Should this be true, the predictive power of ecology developed within such a framework should be sufficient to solve similar problems elsewhere in such biomes. There is a long history of such an approach in mediterranean type ecosystems, documented in a series of volumes and their accompanying scientific papers beginning with that of Di Castri and Mooney (1973).