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21 April 2022 POST-FIRE DEMOGRAPHY OF FREMONTODENDRON CALIFORNICUM (MALVACEAE) IN A PINUS MONOPHYLLA (PINACEAE) FOREST IN THE MOJAVE DESERT
Mark Borchert
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Abstract

There are three species in the genus Fremontodendron in California, two of which are rare, narrowly distributed endemics. Of the three, F. californicum (Torr.) Coville is the most widely distributed. It is a facultative resprouter with dormant seeds stimulated to germinate by fire. In this study I monitored post-fire densities, mortality, and heights of F. californicum seedlings for four years after a stand-replacing fire in a Pinus monophylla Torr. & Frém. forest. Thousands of F. californicum seedlings established in the first-year post-fire. Initially, most germinated in seedling clumps rather than as single seedlings. Those establishing under resprouting shrubs consistently had higher densities, but generally were shorter than seedlings in transects. Camera trapping at two study sites revealed that Ammospermophilus leucurus (Merriam 1889), Dipodomys merriami (Mearns 1890), and Peromyscus truei (Shufeldt 1885) removed F. californicum seeds under shrubs and probably cached many of them. Caching rodents likely play a major role in the seed dispersal of F. californicum in the interval between fires, as suggested by the clumped distribution of seedlings. The ant Pogonomyrmex subnitidus (Emery 1895) removed seeds from beneath shrubs at the unburned site, but not in the burn area. Shrubs at both sites produced fruits that released seeds slowly. Even after a year, small numbers of seeds remained at the bottom of fruit locules in the canopy and on the ground. Only small mammals open fruits and remove seeds from the bottoms of locules.

Mark Borchert "POST-FIRE DEMOGRAPHY OF FREMONTODENDRON CALIFORNICUM (MALVACEAE) IN A PINUS MONOPHYLLA (PINACEAE) FOREST IN THE MOJAVE DESERT," Madroño 69(1), 54-61, (21 April 2022). https://doi.org/10.3120/0024-9637-69.1.54
Published: 21 April 2022
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
elaiosome
Fremontodendron californicum
Mojave Desert
Pinus monophylla
post-fire
seed caching
seed dispersal
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