A long-unburned stand of sand pine (Pinus clausa) was burned with a low intensity winter burn. The results indicate that this burning regime did not restore the populations of endemic herbaceous species nor did it restore a sand pine canopy. In fact, the community shifted toward a xeric hammock, characterized by the persistence of woody understory species. This study demonstrates the necessity of monitoring the consequences of the reintroduction of fire to old stands of sand pine and of recognizing variation in vegetative responses to different fire regimes.
A 16 year data set of leaf traits and leaf life spans across four vegetative associations differing in available light showed that Serenoa repens and Sabal etonia had low rates of leaf production coupled with long leaf life spans reaching 3.5 yr in heavily shaded plants. The adaptation of these palms to xeric, nutrient poor habitats has generated dwarf statures, diminished leaf sizes and numbers, increased life spans, and reduced rates of leaf production relative to other palms and congeners of more mesic sites.
Discussed are two ecologically similar palmettos, saw (Serenoa repens) and scrub (Sabal etonia), which co-occur on the Florida peninsula’s central ridge. Sharing many characteristics of growth form, reproductive strategies, responses to fire, and habitat occurrence, their coexistence suggests differences in micro- habitat distributions and details of life histories.
This study examined how fire events affected flowering of two native palms found in flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, scrub and sandhill communities in Florida.
The responses of native plant species to prescribed and natural burns were recorded for scrub, sandhill, scrubby flatwoods, flatwoods, swales, and seasonal pond communities. These frequently burned associations recover via sprouting in contrast to species in the sand pine scrub that are killed and recover via seedling.
A brief condensation of the 1984 paper emphasizing that fire is a normal environmental feature in many Florida ecosystems.
The severe and prolonged drought of 2000-2001 that affected Florida provided an opportunity to examine the impacts of drought on the survivorship and growth of these two palmettos. On average, all populations of adult palmettos and the majority of individuals lost mass during the drought. However, the survivorship of adult palmettos was little affected by drought or a combination of drought and wildfires.
Plants in fire prone environments lose a large amount of their above ground biomass to fires. In order to re-establish their stored reserves before the next fire episode, plants should quickly restore their canopies. This study measured leaf traits annually for 16 years for marked individuals of two palmettos, the wide spread saw palmetto and the endemic scrub palmetto. Both palmettos recovered quickly following fire. Because of their extended leaf life spans (2-3.5 years), canopies of burned palmettos contained elevated numbers of leaves following fires which should facilitate recovery of stored reserves.
Both Serenoa repens and Sabal etonia seedlings show extraordinary persistence and tolerance but at a cost of exceptionally slow growth rates. These data suggest that the transition from seedlings to reproductive plants in nutrient poor uplands takes multiple decades and restoration of palmettos as foundation species in disturbed sites will require effort.
Percentage of bearing individuals and mean number of acorns per bearing individual increased with increasing ramet size for all species across all vegetation types. This study suggests that long-unburned stands will maintain relatively constant levels of acorn production as a consequence of ramet replacement within the clones of oaks to create a variable distribution of size classes.