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Data from: Post-fire recovery in coastal sage scrub: seed rain and community trajectory

Citation

Conlisk, Erin; Swab, Rebecca; Martínez-Berdeja, Alejandra; Daugherty, Matthew P. (2017), Data from: Post-fire recovery in coastal sage scrub: seed rain and community trajectory, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.s1g64

Abstract

Disturbance is a primary mechanism structuring ecological communities. However, human activity has the potential to alter the frequency and intensity of natural disturbance regimes, with subsequent effects on ecosystem processes. In Southern California, human development has led to increased fire frequency close to urban areas that can form a positive feedback with invasive plant spread. Understanding how abiotic and biotic factors structure post-fire plant communities is a critical component of post-fire management and restoration. In this study we considered a variety of mechanisms affecting post-fire vegetation recovery in Riversidean sage scrub. Comparing recently burned plots to unburned plots, we found that burning significantly reduced species richness and percent cover of exotic vegetation the first two years following a 100-hectare wildfire. Seed rain was higher in burned plots, with more native forb seeds, while unburned plots had more exotic grass seeds. Moreover, there were significant correlations between seed rain composition and plant cover composition the year prior and the year after. Collectively, this case study suggests that fire can alter community composition, but there was not compelling evidence of a vegetation-type conversion. Instead, the changes in the community composition were temporary and convergence in community composition was apparent within two years post-fire.

Usage Notes

Location

Motte Rimrock Reserve in Perris
CA