Heat and smoke effects on the germination of seeds from soil seed banks across forest edges between subtropical rainforest and eucalypt forest at Lamington National Park, south-eastern Queensland, Australia
Physical changes and flows of energy at the interface between two contrasting ecosystems affect the distribution of species across the ecotone. The maintenance and stability of the, often abrupt, transition between Australian rainforest and non-rainforests is often attributed to fire. We use pre-germination treatments of smoke and heat on soil seed bank samples to determine plant distributions across the edge between subtropical rainforest and an adjacent eucalypt-dominated wet sclerophyll forest. Soil seed bank collections at 15 m within the eucalypt forest had both significantly higher density and diversity of seedlings than those at 30 m, at the edge itself or at any site within the rainforest. This response was most apparent when a pre-germination smoke treatment was applied. We suggest that smoke is an important germination trigger for species regenerating at this interface. Our results confirm the importance of fire in determining and maintaining the nature of this ecotone.
Australian Journal of Botany
© 2003 CSIRO : This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.