Catalog Home Page

A spatial model of coexistence among three Banksia species along a topographic gradient in fire-prone shrublands

Groeneveld, J., Enright, N.J., Lamont, B.B. and Wissel, C. (2002) A spatial model of coexistence among three Banksia species along a topographic gradient in fire-prone shrublands. Journal of Ecology, 90 (5). pp. 762-774.

Link to Open Access version:
*No subscription required


1. A spatially explicit, rule-based model for three co-occurring Banksia species was developed to investigate coexistence mediating processes in a fire-prone shrubland in western Australia. Fecundity, recruitment, mortality and other biological data for two non-sprouting (B. hookeriana, B. prionotes) and one resprouting (B. attenuata) species were available from 15 years of empirical field studies. 2. Without interspecific competition, each species could persist for a wide range of fire intervals (10 to > 20 years). The resprouting species performed better under shorter fire intervals (10-13 years), while both non-sprouting species were favoured by longer (15 to > 20 years) fire intervals. These results conform with those obtained from single-species, non-spatial population models. 3. When interspecific competition for space was included in the model, all three species exhibited optima at shorter fire intervals and with a narrower range than in isolation. The three species did not co-occur under any fire regime. At intermediate fire frequencies (11-13 years), B. hookeriana excluded the other species, while for longer intervals between fires B. prionotes became dominant. 4. The introduction of temporal (stochastic) variability in fire intervals (drawn from a normal distribution) failed to produce coexistence, unless spatial variability as a spatial ignition gradient was also included. The spatial arrangement of the non-sprouters observed in the field was then reproduced. 5. Observed patterns of coexistence and spatial distributions of all species occurred when a spatial establishment gradient for the resprouter species was included in the model (individuals of B. attenuata are known to produce more seeds in swales than on dune crests and recruit seedlings here more frequently). 6. Coexistence appears to be highly dependent upon the mean interfire period in combination with subtle gradients associated with fire propagation and recruitment conditions. Variation around the mean fire interval is less critical. When the system is modelled over a long time period (1500 years) coexistence is most strongly favoured for a narrow window of mean fire intervals (12-14 years).

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Item Control Page