Staff Publications

Staff Publications

  • external user (warningwarning)
  • Log in as
  • language uk
  • About

    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

    We have a manual that explains all the features 

Record number 507753
Title Repeated fires trap Amazonian blackwater floodplains in an open vegetation state
Author(s) Flores, Bernardo M.; Fagoaga, Raquel; Nelson, Bruce W.; Holmgren, Milena
Source Journal of Applied Ecology 53 (2016)5. - ISSN 0021-8901 - p. 1597 - 1603.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12687
Department(s) Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) drought - ecological transition - ecosystem shift - El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) - forest succession - igapó - recovery rates - resilience - tropical forests - wetlands
Abstract

Climate change may increase the occurrence of droughts and fires in the Amazon. Most of our understanding on how fire affects tropical ecosystems is based on studies of non-flooded forest–savanna ecotones. Nonetheless, tropical floodplain forests in the Amazon can burn severely during extreme droughts. The mechanisms slowing down forest regeneration in these ecosystems remain poorly understood and have never been assessed in the field. We studied the recovery of Amazonian blackwater floodplain forests after one and two fire events. We used Landsat images to map fire history and conducted field surveys to measure forest structure, tree species richness, tree seed bank and post-fire invasion of herbaceous plants. Sites burnt once had on average 0% trees, 6% tree seed abundance, 23% tree seed species richness and 8% root mat thickness compared to unburnt forests. In contrast, herbaceous cover increased from 0 to 72%. Nonetheless, forest structure and diversity recovered slowly towards pre-burn levels, except for tree seed banks that remained depleted even 15 years after fire. Sites burnt twice had on average 0% trees, 1% tree seed abundance, 3% tree seed species richness and 1% root mat thickness compared to unburnt forests. Herbaceous cover increased to 100%. Mean recovery of tree basal area was 50% slower and of root mat thickness 93% slower compared to recovery in sites burnt once. Tree seed banks did not recover at all, and herbaceous cover persisted close to 100% for more than 20 years after the second fire. Synthesis and applications. Our results indicate that after a second fire event, Amazonian blackwater floodplain forests lose their recovery capacity, and persist in a non-forested state dominated by herbaceous vegetation. Such fragility implies that preventing human ignited fires during drought episodes is a particularly important conservation strategy for these ecosystems.

Comments
There are no comments yet. You can post the first one!
Post a comment
 
Please log in to use this service. Login as Wageningen University & Research user or guest user in upper right hand corner of this page.