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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Sean T. Michaletz; Edward A. Johnson; William E. Mell; David F. Greene
Publication Date: 2013

The existence of non-serotinous, non-sprouting species in fire regimes where serotiny confers an adaptive advantage is puzzling, particularly when these species recruit poorly from soil seed banks or from burn edges. In this paper, white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) was used to show how the timing of fire relative to seed development may permit non-serotinous species to recolonize burned areas from the aerial seed banks of fire-killed trees. To estimate survival of seeds within closed cones during crown fires, cone heating was simulated using a one-dimensional conduction model implemented in a three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics fire behavior model. To quantify the area burned when germinable seed would be contained within closed cones during a mast year, empirical fire occurrence and seed development (germinability and cone opening) data were compared for multiple locations across the white spruce range. Approximately 12% of cones contained viable seed following crown fire simulations (0.072 m s-1 mean spread rate; 9147 kW m-1 mean intensity), and roughly half of the historical area burned resulted from fires that occurred when closed cones would contain germinable seed. Together, these results suggest that non-serotinous species may recolonize burned areas from in situ aerial seed banks, and that this may be an important cause of their existence in fire regimes to which they otherwise seem poorly suited. © Authors 2013. Published by Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union.

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Citation: Michaletz, S. T., E. A. Johnson, W. E. Mell, and D. F. Greene. 2013. Timing of fire relative to seed development may enable non-serotinous species to recolonize from the aerial seed banks of fire-killed trees. Biogeosciences 10(7):5061-5078.

Cataloging Information

Alaska    California    Eastern    Great Basin    Hawaii    Northern Rockies    Northwest    Rocky Mountain    Southern    Southwest    International    National
  • Canada
  • cones
  • crown fires
  • fire frequency
  • fire injuries (plants)
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • mortality
  • Picea glauca
  • seed dormancy
  • seed germination
  • seeds
  • serotiny
  • statistical analysis
  • white spruce
  • wildfires
Tall Timbers Record Number: 28892Location Status: Not in fileCall Number: AvailableAbstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 51900

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by Tall Timbers and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of Tall Timbers.