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Reproductive biology, post-fire succession dynamics and population viability analysis of the critically endangered Western Australian shrubCalytrix brevisetasubsp.breviseta(Myrtaceae)

Nield, A.P., Ladd, P.G. and Yates, C.J. (2009) Reproductive biology, post-fire succession dynamics and population viability analysis of the critically endangered Western Australian shrubCalytrix brevisetasubsp.breviseta(Myrtaceae). Australian Journal of Botany, 57 (6). pp. 451-464.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/BT09043
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Abstract

Calytrix breviseta Lindl. subsp. breviseta is a critically endangered, obligate-seeder shrub within fire-prone kwongan of south-west Western Australia. Little is known about the species' reproductive biology and how threatening processes, particularly altered fire regimes and exotic species invasion, will impact the long-term viability of the species. This study aims to elucidate the species' reproductive biology and patterns of seedling recruitment during succession after fire. The effects of changes to the fire return interval and exotic species invasion on the long-term viability of the species is also described. The species exhibits abundant recruitment following fire and the application of a smoke treatment significantly improves germination, similar to many other Western Australian shrubs. However, significant inter-fire recruitment was observed up to 10 years following fire, leading to the presence of multi-aged subpopulations, although seedling recruitment was negligible >20 years after fire. The juvenile period is short at 34 years to first flowering. Population viability analysis (PVA) predicted that the optimal fire return interval to maintain C. breviseta subsp. breviseta was dependent on the carrying capacity (K) of the community and the number of individuals present. Carrying capacity will be related to site quality and competition from invasive species. PVA showed that if K remains high, then the optimal fire return interval is ∼1520 years, but under lower carrying capacity, (i.e. weed competition) fires decrease the likelihood of population survival.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © 2009 CSIRO
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/6798
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