Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Strong dispersal limitation in post-fire regeneration of Baker cypress, a rare serotinous conifer

Citation

Kane, Jeffrey; McNamara, Bret; Greene, David (2020), Data from: Strong dispersal limitation in post-fire regeneration of Baker cypress, a rare serotinous conifer, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9ghx3ffd5

Abstract

PREMISE:  Dispersal capacity primarily determines the spatial establishment patterns that drive range expansions and contractions in tree species. For Baker cypress (Hesperocyparis bakeri  [(Jeps.) Bartel]), seedling establishment relies predominantly on fire events due to its cone serotiny, shade intolerance, and small seeds requiring the optimal conditions of fire-exposed, mineral soil seedbeds. 
 
METHODS:  This study quantified the density and spatial distribution of post-disturbance seedlings following the 2014 Eiler fire in northern California and compared the observed recruitment to predictions from a mechanistic seed dispersal model. 
 
RESULTS:  Post-fire recruitment was dense, averaging 11 seedling/m  2  , and occurred primarily in the first year after fire. We estimated the mean descent velocity of the wingless seeds as around 4 m/sec, the highest value reported for any putatively wind-dispersed tree species. The rapid seed decent contributed to markedly constrained recruitment in space. Most seedlings (~81%) established within 5 m of the parent tree, and 94% established within 10 m. The maximum observed dispersal distance was 48.5 m, and scaled linearly with canopy height. Distributions of modeled seed dispersal distance and observed seedling establishment in Baker cypress did not differ, demonstrating that wind disperses seeds a short distance due to the lack of a wing, and secondary dispersal appeared to be minimal at this recently burned site. 
 
CONCLUSIONS:  If seed dispersal is solely reliant on wind, migration in response to rapid climate change will be impeded and potentially present difficulties in sustaining populations of this and other obligate seeder species with equally constrained dispersal.

Methods

We collected data on observed seedling establishment and modeled seed dispersal for 20 Baker cypress (Hesperocyparis bakeri) trees following the 2014 Eiler fire in a population located in northern California.