Graduation Year

2003

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Environmental Science and Policy

Major Professor

Fox, Gordon A.

Keywords

slash pine, fire ecology, dispersal

Abstract

With increasing encroachment on natural communities by anthropogenic activity, it is important to understand the functions of natural ecosystems in an effort to conserve natural areas. A first-hand study of the population dynamics of South Florida Slash Pine (P. elliottii Engelm. var. densa) following a fire event provided insight to its recovery and dispersal following a fire. A natural fire (lightning-induced) occurred in the spring of 2000 at the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Reserve, Sarasota County, providing an opportunity to study aspects of slash pine in relation to fire. One objective of my research was to look at dispersal/recruitment conditions and slash pine dynamics in relation to fire. I looked at the varying degrees of tree mortality due to fire at different stands of slash pines.

I also looked at the stands in terms of stand composition and spatial arrangement of surviving adults. Finally, I studied how variable seedling establishment and survival was between stands. Few inferences could be drawn between fire and these individual analyses; however, all analyses revealed that at the scale of this study, pine flatwoods are patchy. I also looked at the dispersal of slash pines following a fire event. I modeled my research after Ribbens et al. (1994) and Clark et al. (1998), who took a phenomenological approach to dispersal modeling. This approach involved using distances between adults and seeds/seedlings and fecundity of adults to create dispersal models based on maximum likelihood estimates (MLE). I found that, while I could predict a model within acceptable parameters for most of the stands, more data was needed to predict models that better fit the data.

This finding, along with the fact that I recovered no seed data for analysis, suggests factors are contributing to dispersal and recruitment (e.g. cone-crop) that need to be accounted for in the future.

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