Vegetation disturbance by fire affects plant reproductive phenology in a shrubland community in northwestern Patagonia, Argentina

Reproductive phenology is likely to vary spatially with environmental conditions that alter microclimate, in particular temperature. We hypothesized that within the same plant community type, environmental changes produced by recent burning would alter plant phenological patterns and temporal structure of the plant community. Specifically, we predicted accelerated flowering and fruiting dates in the burned, open environment compared with the unburned, intact community. We tested this hypothesis in a post-fire tall shrubland (matorral) in northwestern Patagonia, Argentina.

Microclimate gradients across a forest edge

Despite the importance of forest edges in ecology, only one study has previously been carried out in New Zealand on the modification of climate across forest edges. We measured light exposure, wind speed, air and soil temperature, and vapour pressure deficit (VPD) perpendicular to a north-south aligned, mature, edge of native broadleaf rainforest adjoining grazed pasture. At a point 80 m into the forest from the edge, light was only c. 0.7% and wind speed c. 20% of that in the open, and there was much less diurnal fluctuation in soil temperature, air temperature and VPD.