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conservation on public lands, and

controlling populations that exceed


certain sizes. Knowledge about
Fire and Sub-tropical drought and sprout, and thus may
not be pre-adapted to withstand
fires, which top-killed juvenile trees
these shared values could serve as
a foundation for improved rela-
tionships. Collaboration between
Deciduous Forests of India even as tall as 1 metre.

Fire can have important


agencies could start with projects effects on forest structure and di-
that advance conservation on pub- Sonali Saha versity in deciduous forests. It is
lic land and promote incentive pro- equally important to understand
grammes while also improving atti- the role of fire in altering ecosystem

F
tudes about prairie dogs. Successful ire plays an important role functioning. For example, research
also showed that the relative height
initial collaborative efforts might in tropical deciduous for- focusing on soil moisture and nu-
growth of juvenile trees and seed-
then help agencies productively ests across the globe. Most trient dynamics in relation to fire
lings was adversely affected by fires.
tackle more controversial manage- fires are deliberately or ac- might enhance our understanding
Plant growth was stunted, and we
ment issues, such as promoting cidentally set by people. Records of conservation needs in Indian de-
hypothesized that this would have a
conservation on private land and of natural lightning-caused fires in ciduous forests. Deciduous forest
strong effect on the future develop-
supporting strict protection with tropical deciduous forests exist, but plants exhibit an exceptional diver-
ment of the forest canopy and the
the Endangered Species Act listing. are rare. My colleagues and I have sity of structure-function relation-
understory light environment in
We hope this study helps agencies conducted a series of experimental ship. Plants demonstrate a variety
these deciduous forest ecosystems.
with currently competing prairie and observational studies on fire of drought tolerance and drought
We also found that as little as two
dog-management goals and forges and its effects on vegetation in sub- avoidance strategies, and utilize a
tropical deciduous forests of central years of fire-exclusion was suffi-
more cooperative relationships. range of mechanisms to minimize
and south India. We have moni- cient to have a positive impact on
the diversity of seedlings and juve- water loss. Thus the conservation
Originally published as: tored the patterns of tree diversity of deciduous forests will not only
and size-class distribution in forests nile trees.
protect the integrity of species
Reading, R.P., D. Stern and L. Mc- that represent varying disturbance composition but also ensure the
Cain. 2006. Attitudes and Knowledge histories: secondary forests, plan- Fire eliminated an entire
functional group of plants, those maintenance of mechanistic diver-
of Natural Resources Agency Personnel tations, and long-undisturbed de-
that allocated relatively less bio- sity, which is the origin of the di-
towards Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs (Cy- ciduous forests.
mass to roots than to shoots. Ex- versity of plant functional groups.
nomys ludovicianus). Conservation and
Society 4(4): 592-618. We examined the effects amples of these plants included
of fire on diversity and stature of several species of Gardenia, and Originally published as:
Lauren McCain is with WildEarth Guard-
seedlings and juvenile trees. Effects Stereospermum suaveolens. Biomass Saha, S. and Howe, H.F. 2006. Stature
ians, Denver, USA (lmccain@wildearth-
on seedling diversity were simple: allocation in these plants contrasts of juvenile trees in response to anthro-
guardians.org). Photos: Ghazala Shahabuddin
seedlings either survived fires, or with allocation by fire-tolerant spe- pogenic firest in a tropical deciduous
Richard P. Reading is the Conservation Biol- were killed, with more seedlings cies such as Madhuca indica, Dio- forest of Central India. Conservation
ogy Director at the Denver Zoological Foun- surviving in plots protected from spyros melanoxylon, and Terminalia and Society 4(4): 619-627.
dation, Colorado, USA (rreading@denver- fire after 2 years of fire exclusion. bellerica. We also found that many
zoo.org). The effects of fire on diversity of seedlings died back even when they
Sonali Saha is at the Archbold Biological Sta-
David Stern is at the University of Denver, juvenile trees were less straight-for- were not exposed to fire. They died
tion, Florida, USA (ssaha@archbold-station.
Daniels College of Business, Denver, Colo- ward. The effects were mediated by back to the ground in response to
org).
rado, USA. a greater proliferation of resprout- drought and sprouted from buried
ed shoots, or ramets, in repeatedly vegetative buds following the on-
burnt forest areas. In plots that set of the rains. Such seedling die-
were burnt, species composition back followed by successful sprout-
was biased in favour of those species ing suggests that many tree species
that could resprout, and these at could be pre-adapted to fire at the
times produced hundreds of shoots seedling stage, sprouting after be-
within a small area. Plots protected ing burnt to the ground. However,
from fire, on the other hand, had a juvenile trees do not show a similar
lower density of ramets. Our study ability to die back in response to

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