Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2021, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (11): 1177-1190.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2021.0123

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research progress on the effects of fire-related cues on seed germination

LI Shao-Yang1,2, MA Hong-Yuan1,*(), ZHAO Dan-Dan1,3, MA Meng-Yao1, QI Wen-Wen1   

  1. 1Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
    2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3Shandong Key Laboratory of Eco-Environmental Science for Yellow River Delta, Binzhou University, Binzhou, Shandong 256603, China
  • Received:2021-04-06 Accepted:2021-09-07 Online:2021-11-20 Published:2021-09-18
  • Contact: MA Hong-Yuan
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41977424);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41771058);Category A Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA2306040303);Category A Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA28110300);Natural Science Foundation of Jilin Province(20200201026JC)


Fire is a fundamental ecological factor profoundly affecting many terrestrial ecosystems including forest and grassland ecosystems. Seed germination is an important life-history stage of plants, and it is also the main strategy for the regeneration and restoration of vegetation after fire events. Vegetation combustion produces smoke, heat and a series of fire cues associated with smoke, and plays critical roles in breaking seed dormancy and seedling establishment. In this study, we clustered the fire cues into two categories, i.e., physical cues (heat) and chemical cues (aerial smoke, karrikins, glyceronitrile) and focused on the basic information of fire, the effects of fire cues on seed germination, and the application of fire cues. In addition, we focused on the effects of different types of fire cues and their interactions on seed germination. Based on a systematic review of the research progress on the effects of fire cues on seed germination, this study also provided suggestions for the future research, such as mechanism of smoke cues on seed germination and seedling growth via molecular technologies, and interaction of smoke cues with climate changes. In summary, based on the review of the ecological functions of fire-related cues on seed germination, this study aims to provide theoretical support for the scientific management of grassland and forest ecosystems and also provide basis for the applications of fire and the restoration of degraded ecosystems.

Key words: seed germination, fire, physical cues, chemical cues, interaction