Study

Prescribed burning and the role of seed banks in post-fire succession of northern heathlands, Lygra and Lurekalven islands, Hordaland, Norway

  • Published source details Måren I.E. & Vandvik V. (2009) Prescribed burning and the role of seed banks in post-fire succession of northern heathlands, Lygra and Lurekalven islands, Hordaland, Norway. Conservation Evidence, 6, 48-56.

Summary

Variation in plant species composition, abundance of seeds in the soil seed bank and standing vegetation, over the course of a post-fire succession was investigated in coastal Calluna-heathlands in Western Norway. Vegetation and seed banks were analysed over a 24-year post-fire period. The total diversity of vegetation and seed bank were 60 and 54 vascular plant taxa respectively (39 shared species), resulting in 68% similarity. Over the 24 years the heathland community progressed from open newly-burnt ground via species rich graminoid- and herb-dominated vegetation to mature heather Calluna vulgaris-dominated heath. This post-fire succession was not reflected in the seed bank; the 10 most abundant species constituted 98% of the germinated seeds. The most abundant were Calluna (49%; 12,018 seeds/m2) and cross-leaved heath Erica tetralix (34%; 8,414 seeds/m2). Calluna showed significantly higher germination in the two first years following burning. Vegetation species richness (ranging 23 to 46 species/yr) was highest in the middle years of the post-fire succession period. In contrast, the seed bank species richness (21 to 31 species/yr) showed no trend. This suggests that the seed bank act as a refuge, providing a source of recruits for many species that colonize newly-burnt areas. The traditional management regime has not depleted or destroyed the seed banks, and continuing management is necessary to ensure perpetuation of the heathlands.

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust