Bamboo, fire and flood

regeneration of Bambusa arnhemica (Bambuseae: Poaceae) after mass-flowering and die-off at contrasting sites in monsoonal northern Australia

Donald Franklin, David Bowman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Bambusa arnhemica F.Muell., a long-lived, gregarious-flowering and semelparous bamboo endemic to north-western Australia, occurs in remarkably disparate but somewhat fire-sheltered flood-prone riparian forest and rocky hillside vine-thickets, but not in adjacent fire-prone savannas. We investigated the response of B. arnhemica seedlings to fire and flood at two contrasting sites over 2.5 years following a mass-flowering and die-off event. Seedlings grew vigorously notwithstanding either prolonged inundation or total loss of above-ground parts to fire within their first year. However, there was no evidence that such disturbance promoted regeneration, and several veins of evidence suggest that B. arnhemica is fire-retardant and refugial rather than fire-promoting. We suggest that creation of canopy gaps by parental death is a more parsimonious and generalisable hypothesis for the evolution of gregarious semelparity in bamboos than the recently advanced bamboo fire-cycle hypothesis. However, both hypotheses are potentially group selectionist, and resolution of dispersal distances and/or the spatial genetics of relatedness are required to resolve the problem.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)529-542
    Number of pages14
    JournalAustralian Journal of Botany
    Volume51
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

    Fingerprint

    Bambusa
    die-off
    bamboo
    bamboos
    Poaceae
    flowering
    regeneration
    semelparity
    seedling
    flame retardants
    canopy gap
    canopy gaps
    seedlings
    riparian forest
    riparian forests
    vine
    plant veins
    relatedness
    savanna
    Western Australia

    Cite this

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    title = "Bamboo, fire and flood: regeneration of Bambusa arnhemica (Bambuseae: Poaceae) after mass-flowering and die-off at contrasting sites in monsoonal northern Australia",
    abstract = "Bambusa arnhemica F.Muell., a long-lived, gregarious-flowering and semelparous bamboo endemic to north-western Australia, occurs in remarkably disparate but somewhat fire-sheltered flood-prone riparian forest and rocky hillside vine-thickets, but not in adjacent fire-prone savannas. We investigated the response of B. arnhemica seedlings to fire and flood at two contrasting sites over 2.5 years following a mass-flowering and die-off event. Seedlings grew vigorously notwithstanding either prolonged inundation or total loss of above-ground parts to fire within their first year. However, there was no evidence that such disturbance promoted regeneration, and several veins of evidence suggest that B. arnhemica is fire-retardant and refugial rather than fire-promoting. We suggest that creation of canopy gaps by parental death is a more parsimonious and generalisable hypothesis for the evolution of gregarious semelparity in bamboos than the recently advanced bamboo fire-cycle hypothesis. However, both hypotheses are potentially group selectionist, and resolution of dispersal distances and/or the spatial genetics of relatedness are required to resolve the problem.",
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    Bamboo, fire and flood : regeneration of Bambusa arnhemica (Bambuseae: Poaceae) after mass-flowering and die-off at contrasting sites in monsoonal northern Australia. / Franklin, Donald; Bowman, David.

    In: Australian Journal of Botany, Vol. 51, No. 5, 2003, p. 529-542.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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