Effects of fire on the structure and diversity of a Spartina argentinensis tall grassland

  • Published source details Feldman S.R. & Lewis J.P. (2005) Effects of fire on the structure and diversity of a Spartina argentinensis tall grassland. Applied Vegetation Science, 8, 77-84.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance: brackish/salt marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance: brackish/salt marshes

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 1999–2000 in an ephemeral inland salt marsh in northeast Argentina (Feldman & Lewis 2005) found that burned plots contained a different plant community to unburned plots for up to 17 months, with higher plant diversity and richness, and lower cover of the dominant grass species. Five months after a prescribed burn, the overall plant community composition differed between burned and unburned plots in two of two comparisons. After 17 months, clear differences persisted in only one of two comparisons (data reported as graphical analyses; statistical significance of differences not assessed). At both times, burned plots had significantly higher plant species richness than unburned plots (burned: 11–15 species/16 m2; unburned: 6–10 species/16 m2), significantly higher plant diversity (data not reported), and significantly lower cover of gulf cordgrass Spartina argentinensis (burned: 24–53%; unburned: 61–73%). Methods: Two pairs of 100 x 150 m plots were established in a cordgrass-dominated ephemeral marsh. The plots had not burned for ≥3 years, although fire is usually a common disturbance in these wetlands. In August 1999, one plot in each pair was deliberately burned. Plant species and their cover were recorded in December 1999 and 2000, in twelve 4 x 4 m quadrats/plot. This study was based on the same experimental set-up as (10).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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