Post-fire resprout in an endangered and narrow endemic shrub from rupestrian grasslands, Serra do Cipó, southeastern Brazil

Henrique Furst, Ronnie P. da Silva, G. Wilson Fernandes, Laura Z. Gallupo, Isabel C.A. Machado, Pedro Villar, Daniel Negreiros

Abstract


Although there is evidence that the vegetation from rupestrian grasslands is resilient to fire, investigations about the effects of increasing frequency of anthropogenic fires in the rare and endemic plants from this ecosystem are still incipient. In this study, we monitored the post-fire resprouting of the endemic and endangered shrub species Coccoloba cereifera Schwacke (Polygonaceae) from rupestrian grasslands, southeastern Brazil. Five months after the fire 100% of the monitored individuals resprouted. However, one year after the fire, the burned plants had the ramet length 24% lower and number of leaves 53.5% smaller in relation to unburned plants. Burned plants showed a much higher relative growth rate in number of leaves and much lower reproductive investment compared to unburned plants. Although the studied species showed a high ability to resprout after fire, the pattern of vegetative growth and reproductive investment showed by the burned plants suggested that the increasing frequency of anthropogenic fires represents a serious threat to C. cereifera.

Keywords: Coccoloba cereifera, conservation, Espinhaço Range, plant growth, reproductive phenology.


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ISSN: 2236-3777 - Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox

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