Mediterranean-type climate California experiences both frequent wildfires and periodic drought. Climate change models predict increased severity of drought, and wildfire size and frequency, leading to concern about the ability of some plant species to recover to pre-fire conditions when wildfires and drought coincide. During exceptional drought, drought-adapted native vegetation, such as perennial native grassland, can experience substantial die-off. Here we use three post-fire case studies in southern California to assess the combined effects of fire and drought on the resilience of a native perennial bunchgrass, Stipa pulchra Hitchc. (Poaceae). We hypothesized that resilience to fire, assessed as post-fire survival, resprouting and fecundity (i.e., number of flowering plants and inflorescences), would decrease if the fire occurred during a drought. Unburned (control) sites had about double the survival and resprouting, and about three times the fecundity compared to moderate-severity burn sites. Resprouting and fecundity in the low-severity burn sites was about twice that of moderate-severity burn sites, and survival was five times higher. Responses to two springtime fires that occurred during drought were similar (average mortality 37%), in contrast to a fall fire with no drought (6%). We cannot separate the relative contribution of drought effects from those of the time of year (spring vs. fall), burn severity, and other site factors. However, moderate-severity burns, in combination with drought, decreased survival, resprouting, and fecundity of S. pulchra.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 67 • No. 1