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Soil heating and germination: Investigations using leaf scorch on graminoids and experimental seed burial

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Burns conducted to reduce fuels are usually carried out under mild weather conditions. This introduces a risk that soil heating will be insufficient to trigger germination in species with a heat-shock requirement. Resprouting graminoids with leaves or culms arising from subterranean meristems can be used to estimate soil heating because the leaf is burnt to soil level and the subterranean tissue is killed to a depth dependent on the level of soil heating. Provided the meristem survives, the length of dead tissue is exposed following subsequent growth. We sought to determine whether the length of dead tissue (scorch length) was correlated with the post-fire recovery of Acacia suaveolens, a fire-sensitive shrub with seed germination dependent on heat shock. The peak emergence depth for this species varies as a function of soil heating: temperatures above 100��C induce seed death whereas temperatures below 60��C do not break dormancy. We found that average scorch length was correlated with average seedling emergence depth. However, experimental burial of scarified (i.e. non-dormant) seeds showed that the peak emergence depth was similar for seeds sown before, after or in the absence of fire. This suggests that post-germination mortality is also depth-dependent, with seedling survival reduced at depths from 0 to 20 mm. The results suggest that survival of seedlings will be enhanced if soil heating is sufficient to promote germination of seeds buried at least 20 mm deep. Scorch lengths on graminoid leaves provide an indication of whether this condition is met. �� IAWF 2006.

UOW Authors


  •   Auld, Tony

Publication Date


  • 2006

Citation


  • Tozer, M. G., & Auld, T. D. (2006). Soil heating and germination: Investigations using leaf scorch on graminoids and experimental seed burial. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 15(4), 509-516. doi:10.1071/WF06016

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-33845774279

Start Page


  • 509

End Page


  • 516

Volume


  • 15

Issue


  • 4

Place Of Publication


Abstract


  • Burns conducted to reduce fuels are usually carried out under mild weather conditions. This introduces a risk that soil heating will be insufficient to trigger germination in species with a heat-shock requirement. Resprouting graminoids with leaves or culms arising from subterranean meristems can be used to estimate soil heating because the leaf is burnt to soil level and the subterranean tissue is killed to a depth dependent on the level of soil heating. Provided the meristem survives, the length of dead tissue is exposed following subsequent growth. We sought to determine whether the length of dead tissue (scorch length) was correlated with the post-fire recovery of Acacia suaveolens, a fire-sensitive shrub with seed germination dependent on heat shock. The peak emergence depth for this species varies as a function of soil heating: temperatures above 100��C induce seed death whereas temperatures below 60��C do not break dormancy. We found that average scorch length was correlated with average seedling emergence depth. However, experimental burial of scarified (i.e. non-dormant) seeds showed that the peak emergence depth was similar for seeds sown before, after or in the absence of fire. This suggests that post-germination mortality is also depth-dependent, with seedling survival reduced at depths from 0 to 20 mm. The results suggest that survival of seedlings will be enhanced if soil heating is sufficient to promote germination of seeds buried at least 20 mm deep. Scorch lengths on graminoid leaves provide an indication of whether this condition is met. �� IAWF 2006.

UOW Authors


  •   Auld, Tony

Publication Date


  • 2006

Citation


  • Tozer, M. G., & Auld, T. D. (2006). Soil heating and germination: Investigations using leaf scorch on graminoids and experimental seed burial. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 15(4), 509-516. doi:10.1071/WF06016

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-33845774279

Start Page


  • 509

End Page


  • 516

Volume


  • 15

Issue


  • 4

Place Of Publication