(1) In Calluna-dominated heathlands managed by periodic burning, vegetation composition is influenced by the ability of species to regenerate rapidly after a fire. Experiments were carried out, using a number of heathland species. (i) to investigate the effects on germination of exposing seeds to short periods of heat treatment and (ii) to determine the influence of fire temperature on vegetative regeneration. 2) In two species. Genista anglica and Hypericum pulchrum. evidence was obtained of stimulation of germination following short periods (30 s—2 min) of pre-treatment at 100 0C. There was some indication that in Vaccinium vitis-idaea a vernalization requirement might be over-ridden by a very short period of heating at 100 0C. Apart from these instances, there was little evidence of fire-adaptation of this kind. Treatments at 200 0C. or for more than 2 mm at 100 0C. either killed seeds or reduced germination in most of the species tested. 3) All tested species (except Juniperus communis) regenerated vegetatively after burning at 600 0C. but in most cases a temperature of 800 0C resulted in less recovery. 4) These findings emphasize the importance of controlling management fires so that canopy temperatures are held within the range 400—600 0C and ground-surface temperatures rise little above 100 0C. These conditions should be sustained for no more than 2 min as the fire passes through the vegetation. ©1985 Blackwell Scientific. Abstract reproduced by permission.