The effect of fire on flower visitation rate and fruit set in four core-species in east Mediterranean scrubland

Research paper by Gidi Ne'eman, Amots Dafni, Simon G. Potss

Indexed on: 01 Jan '00Published on: 01 Jan '00Published in: Plant Ecology


The recovery of vegetation following fire has been studied intensively in Mediterranean-type ecosystems. Little attention, however, has been given to floral traits, and almost no data have been collected on the effects of fire on pollinator activity and fruit-set. This paper reports the effects of fire on flower visitation rates and the possibly related fruit-set. We compared visitation rates of the main pollinators on four plant core-species in burned and adjacent unburned areas. Measurements were performed at an unburned phrygana (scrub lands), and at a burned area (5–7 years post-fire). Bumble bees and solitary bees were the main taxa of visitors, while few honeybees were recorded. Solitary bees were almost absent from the burned area. Fruit-set was significantly higher in the unburned area for three out of the four plant species. The lower fruit-set in the burned area was possibly the result of low activity of solitary bees which are the main effective pollinators of the examined species. We hypothesize that the populations of the solitary bees were diminished or extirpated either directly by the fire, or indirectly by the scarcity of nectar in the early post-fire years due to dominance of young pine and Cistus spp. seedlings. The short foraging range of the solitary bees and their slow invasion rate into the burned area may explain our results.