Litter removal does not compensate detrimental fire effects on biodiversity in regularly burned semi-natural grasslands

Orsolya Valkó, András Kelemen, Tamás Miglécz, Péter Török, Balázs Deák, Katalin Tóth, János Pál Tóth, B. Tóthmérész

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Regulation of plant biomass accumulation is a key issue in effective grassland conservation in Europe. Burning is an alternative tool to regulate biomass dynamics in semi-natural grasslands even in the absence of grazing or mowing. We tested the effects of regular spring burning on the biomass fractions and fine-scale plant species composition of species-rich foothill grasslands in North-Hungary. There were five regularly burned and five control grasslands in the study; we collected twenty 20 × 20-cm sized biomass samples from each. We analyzed the main fractions (litter, graminoid and forb biomass), and the species-level biomass scores, and flowering success in the control and burned grasslands. We revealed that fire increased the amount of forb biomass and decreased the amount of litter, which suggested that regular burning might be feasible for regulating biomass dynamics. The non-metric multi-dimensional scaling (NMDS) showed a high similarity of the control and burned grasslands in species composition. However, plant diversity, and the number of flowering shoots decreased significantly in the burned grasslands. In regularly burned sites we found a significant decline of specialist species, as well as of steppic flora elements. Our results showed that besides its positive effect on biomass dynamics, high-frequency burning threatens the overall diversity and specialist plant species in semi-natural grasslands. We recommend that proper fire regimes should be first studied experimentally, to provide a scientific basis for the application of prescribed burning management in such habitats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-789
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume622-623
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2018

Fingerprint

Biodiversity
Fires
Biomass
litter
grassland
biodiversity
biomass
flowering
effect
removal
prescribed burning
mowing
Chemical analysis
Conservation
flora
shoot
grazing
habitat

Keywords

  • Biomass
  • Flowering success
  • Grassland management
  • Plant diversity
  • Prescribed burning
  • Restoration ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

Cite this

Litter removal does not compensate detrimental fire effects on biodiversity in regularly burned semi-natural grasslands. / Valkó, Orsolya; Kelemen, András; Miglécz, Tamás; Török, Péter; Deák, Balázs; Tóth, Katalin; Tóth, János Pál; Tóthmérész, B.

In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 622-623, 01.05.2018, p. 783-789.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Valkó, Orsolya ; Kelemen, András ; Miglécz, Tamás ; Török, Péter ; Deák, Balázs ; Tóth, Katalin ; Tóth, János Pál ; Tóthmérész, B. / Litter removal does not compensate detrimental fire effects on biodiversity in regularly burned semi-natural grasslands. In: Science of the Total Environment. 2018 ; Vol. 622-623. pp. 783-789.
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