We investigated the effects of prescribed fire on a long-unburned sand pine scrub on central Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge. We quantified the postburn survival of 13 endemic plant species by censusing tagged individuals before and after prescribed fire and by comparing survival of burned vs. unburned individuals. Ten of our study species were herbs, two were woody shrubs, and one was a woody prostrate subshrub. We assessed changes in the species composition and community structure of the scrub ecosystem through pre- and postburn sampling of 12 100m2 plots. We also investigated the effect of changes in community structure on overall herb abundance. We found that nine of 13 species had postburn resprouting rates varying from 15% to 98%. Three species (Bonamia grandiflora, Nolina brittoniana and Prunus geniculata) are strong resprouters (well over 50% of burned plants resprouting); two species, Clitoria fragrans (48.4%) and Liatris ohlingerae (47.3%), are intermediate resprouters; four species (Asclepias curtissii, Garberia heterophylla, Helianthemum nashii and Sisyrinchium xerophyllum) are weak resprouters (>10% but <30%); and four species (Paronychia chartacea ssp. chartacea, Polygonella myriophylla, P. robusta and Schizachyrium niveum) are killed by fire. Postburn reductions in subcanopy, shrub, litter, lichen and P. myriophylla cover were paralleled by increases in the frequency and abundance of scrub herbs (including Lechea deckertii, Cnidoscolus stimulosus, Stipulicida sectacea and Stylisma abdita). While overall species richness decreased postburn, herb species richness increased. Although some scrub herbs resprout, most postburn increases in herb abundance were due to seedling recruitment.

Key words: endemics, fire, Lake Wales Ridge, scrub