Canopy seed bank structure in relation to: Fire, tree size and density

S. Goubitz, R. Nathan, R. Roitemberg, A. Shmida, G. Ne'Eman

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69 Scopus citations


To assess the canopy seed bank structure of Pinus halepensis, we measured the level of serotiny and the seed bank size and density of trees in unburned stands and post-fire regenerated stands in Israel. We analysed the effects of tree size, tree density and fire history on the level of serotiny. The level of serotiny decreased with an increase in tree height. The high level of serotiny in short trees could be explained by selection to increase regeneration chances after burning at pre-mature age. Also, limitation of long-distance seed dispersal opportunities in short trees may favour high serotiny levels. The level of serotiny was higher in post-fire stands than in unburned stands, suggesting a fast selection for serotiny by fire. Unburned stands had a higher total stand seed density than post-fire regenerated stands, but the proportion of seeds in serotinous cones of the total stand seed density was higher in post-fire regenerated stands. The fact that P. halepensis bears simultaneously serotinous and non-serotinous cones reflects its dual strategy as both a post-fire obligate seeder, mainly from serotinous cones and an early coloniser during fire-free periods, mainly from non-serotinous cones. The relative investment in these strategies is dependent on fire history and varies with tree height. Furthermore, mature brown cones can contribute to post-fire regeneration in case of spring fires, and serotinous cones are known to open partially also in dry spell events. Thus, post-fire regeneration and invasion are strategies, which seem to complement each other.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)191-201
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cone production
  • Dual life strategy
  • Pinus halepensis
  • Post-fire regeneration
  • Serotiny


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