It is well established that California chaparral follows marked temporal patterns after fire. However, the majority of publications are from southern California and there are considerable floristic differences between northern and southern chaparral. This thesis analyzes temporal changes in chamise chaparral after a 2005 wildfire in the inner coast range of northern California. In 2006, permanent plots were established on south - to southeast - facing slopes that had been dominated by chamise chaparral prior to the fire. Postfire vegetation was extensively surveyed over a five-year period. All woody and herbaceous species were listed, percent cover visually estimated, and the number of resprouting individuals and seedlings of each species was recorded. The effect of time (years) since the 2005 fire was analyzed at the levels of plant community, plant groups and dominant species. At the plant group level, species were grouped according to life form, regeneration traits in response to fire and origin (native or non native).
A profusion of native annuals and resprouting geophytes in the first postfire growing season (2006) resulted in a high level of species richness, species diversity and spatial heterogeneity in the plant community. At the group level, relative cover of native annuals was highest in the first postfire year, and significantly decreased with time since fire. Non-native annuals followed the opposite trajectory. Cover and density were relatively low in the first year and increased rapidly in the second and third years. Although aggressive exotic grasses threatened to invade in the third year, shrub cover steadily increased each year and by the fifth year appeared to be excluding exotic species.
In the fifth year, the dominant shrub, Adenostoma fasciculatum comprised 31% relative cover. The short-lived perennial, Lotus scoparius var scoparius contributed substantially to early canopy closure with 57% relative cover and may play an important role in excluding exotic species.
|Advisor:||Barbour, Michael G.|
|Commitee:||Elliott-Fisk, Deborah, Rice, Kevin J.|
|School:||University of California, Davis|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 51/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Ecology, Plant sciences, Environmental science|
|Keywords:||Adenostoma fasciculatum, California shrublands, Chamise, Chaparral, Fire, Succession|
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