Effects of fire on the recruitment of rain forest vegetation beneath Pinus caribaea plantations, Sri Lanka
Groundstory fires burn forest understories and can impact advance regeneration, contributing to conversion of forests to fire-sustained grasslands or fernlands. While plantations of fire-tolerant trees have been successfully established on these sites, managing fire in the newly developing understory remains an issue of concern.
Research & Methods
The study measures vegetation (stem density, diameter, basal area) in burned and unburned plots within Pinus caribaea plantations in Sri Lanka. The area is susceptible to accidental wildfires during the dry season. Tree stem density and diversity were greater in unburned plots than burned plots, suggesting that advance regeneration is more effective in plantations protected from fire. Plots burned once in the prior five-year period had lower levels of vegetation than those burned multiple times, suggesting more intense fires. Common rainforest species that are not fire tolerant were also not found in the burned plots.
Conclusions & Takeaways
The study finds that groundstory fires reduce the diversity and stem density of tree recruitment in plantations converted from grassland or fernland. Under a management goal of retaining monodominant P. caribaea, ground fire is effective at reducing competition; however, under a management goal of forest succession, protecting the plantation against fire is recommended.
Effects of fire on the recruitment of rain forest vegetation beneath Pinus caribaea plantations, Sri Lanka. Forest Ecology and Management. 2006;226:357–363. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2006.01.016..
- Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, CT, United States
- Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka