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Keywords:

  • anthrone technique;
  • chronosequence;
  • fire;
  • Florida scrub;
  • nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC)

Summary

  • • 
    Most research analyzing nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) concentrations on resprouter species in fire-controlled ecosystems has concentrated on how NSC concentrations recover immediately after fire. However, we know little of the effect of long periods without fire on NSC concentrations.
  • • 
    In order to assess the effect of different periods of time-since-fire on resprouter species, we studied carbohydrate concentrations (total [NSC], soluble sugars [SS] and nonsoluble sugars [NSS]) in five resprouting species with contrasting trends of abundance across a chronosequence of time-since-fire (0.5–40 yr) in Florida.
  • • 
    Carbohydrate concentrations were highest in species with specialized reserve organs. [SS] was mainly explained by factors related to plant size, whereas time-since-fire was the main factor explaining [NSS]. Changes in [NSS] and [NSC] were correlated with the time-since-fire abundance patterns.
  • • 
    Variation in [NSS] carbohydrates can be related to the structural development of vegetation, with only those species capable of accessing full light able to accumulate carbohydrates, whereas subordinate plants show reductions in the [NSS] carbohydrate fractions. In areas with long intervals between fires, this carbohydrate reduction could affect subsequent postfire resprouting vigour, although this remains to be confirmed.