Vol17 No.2: 373-383
【Title】Vegetation recovery after fire in mountain grasslands of Argentina
【Author】Alejandro LOYDI1,2*; Flavia A. FUNK2,3; Andrés GARCÍA1
【Addresses】1 Renewable Natural Resources Center of the Semi-Arid Zone (CERZOS) – CONICET-UNS, Bahía Blanca, Argentina; 2 Department of Biology, Biochemistry and Pharmacy, South National University, Bahía Blanca, Argentina; 3 Argentine Institute of Oceanography (IADO), CONICET-UNS, Bahía Blanca, Argentina
【Corresponding author】Alejandro LOYDI
【Citation】Loydi A, Funk FA, García A (2020) Vegetation recovery after fire in mountain grasslands of Argentina. Journal of Mountain Science 17(2). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-019-5669-3
【Abstract】Fire is a natural disturbance occurring every few years in many grasslands ecosystems. However, since European colonization, fire has been highly reduced or even suppressed in Argentinean grasslands, fostering ignitable material accumulation. This has led to occasional catastrophic control-demanding fire events, extended for larger areas. The aims of this work are to study vegetation recovery and change after a non-natural fire event in mountain grasslands. The study area is located in the Ventania mountain system, mid-eastern Argentina. We studied vegetation recovery after fire (January 2014) in two different communities: grass-steppes (grasslands) and shrub-steppes (open low shrublands). We measured vegetation cover, species richness and bare ground percentage in burned and unburned areas 1, 4, 8, 11 and 23 months after fire. Vegetation surveys were also performed at the end of the growing season (December) 11 and 23 months after fire. Data were analyzed using regression analysis, ANOVA and multivariate analysis (NMS, PERMANOVA). Both communities increased their vegetation cover at the same rate, without differences between burned and unburned areas after two years. Species richness was higher in shrublands and their recovery was also faster than in grasslands. Considering functional composition, besides transient changes during the first year after fire, there were no differences in abundance of different functional vegetation groups two years after fire. At the same time, shrublands showed no differences in species composition, while grasslands had a different species composition in burned and unburned plots. Also, burned grassland showed a higher species richness than unburned grassland. Data shown mountain vegetation in Pampas grassland is adapted to fire, recovering cover and richness rapidly after fire and thus reducing soil erosion risks. Vegetation in mountain Pampas seems to be well adapted to fire, but in grasslands species composition has changed due to fire. Nonetheless, these changes seem to be not permanent since pre-fire species are still present in the area.
【Keywords】Amelichloa caudata; Forbs; Grass; Natural grassland; Nassella trichotoma; Piedmont valleys; Shrubs; Sierra de la Ventana; Vegetation functional groups