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

Gidi Ne'eman, Amots Dafni, Simon G. Potss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-104
Number of pages8
JournalPlant Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We want to thank Ella Oz for her many hours of field-work, Chris O’Toole for the identification of solitary bees and Paul Neal for his comments on a draft of this paper. This work was supported by grants from The Ministry of Science and the Arts (Israel) and of GSF-Forschungszentrum fuer Umwelt und Gesundheit GmbH, Neuherberg (Germany), and by the Henck and Dorothy Schusheim Fund for Ecological Research on Mt. Carmel.


  • Asphodelus ramosus
  • Bombus terrestris
  • Fire
  • Flower visitation
  • Fruit-set
  • Honeybees
  • Phlomis viscosa
  • Pollination
  • Salvia fruticosa
  • Satureja thymbra
  • Solitary bees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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