Relationship between fire frequency and nitrogen limitation on foliage production in a native grassland community in Victoria, Australia Conference Paper uri icon

abstract

  • The relationship between fire frequency (annual v. infrequent) and nitrogen (N) limitation to foliage production in a temperate native grassland community in western Victoria, Australia, was assessed over one growing season using a simple ammonium nitrate addition experiment. Fire history affected the magnitude of the vegetation responses to N addition. At the community level, mean live biomass in infrequently-burned grasslands declined by 20 ± 8% in response to N addition. In contrast, mean biomass increased by 60 ± 15% in annually-burned grasslands in response to N addition. Both grasses and forbs responded positively to N addition in annually-burned grasslands, with forbs responding more substantially than grasses. Foliage production in annually-burned native grasslands therefore appears to be constrained by N availability. The results of this study may have important implications for understanding species coexistence and invasion by non-native species in temperate native grasslands.

publication date

  • 2007

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