Successional stage after land abandonment modulates fire severity and post-fire recovery in a Mediterranean mountain landscape

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Title: Successional stage after land abandonment modulates fire severity and post-fire recovery in a Mediterranean mountain landscape
Authors: López-Poma, Rosario | Orr, Barron J. | Bautista, Susana
Research Group/s: Gestión de Ecosistemas y de la Biodiversidad (GEB)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ecología | Universidad de Alicante. Instituto Multidisciplinar para el Estudio del Medio "Ramón Margalef"
Keywords: Abandoned terraces ecosystem vulnerability | Brachypodium retusum | Pinus halepensis | Post-fire regeneration | Resprouter | Seeder | Ulex parviflorus
Knowledge Area: Ecología
Issue Date: 25-Aug-2014
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Citation: International Journal of Wildland Fire. 2014, 23(7): 1005-1015. doi:10.1071/WF13150
Abstract: This study analyses the effect of successional stage after farmland terrace abandonment on post-fire plant recovery in a Mediterranean landscape. Specific objectives of the study were to (1) compare fuel characteristics and fire severity in three successional stages after farmland abandonment – dry grassland, dense shrubland and pine stands; (2) analyse the effect of pre-fire successional stage and fire severity on vegetation recovery and (3) analyse the relative vulnerability (i.e. potential for ecosystem shift and soil degradation) to wildfires of the successional stages. We assessed 30 abandoned terraces (15 unburned and 15 burned), with diverse successional stages, on the Xortà Range (south-east Spain). Post-fire recovery was measured 1, 4 and 7 years after fire. The successional stages varied in aboveground biomass, litter amount, vertical structure and continuity of plant cover, and flammability. Dry grassland showed the lowest fire severity, whereas no differences in severity were found between shrubland and pine stands. One year after fire, plant cover was inversely related to fire severity; this relationship attenuated with time after fire. Post-fire recovery of pine stands and shrubland led in both cases to shrublands, contributing to landscape homogenisation. The pine stands showed the largest changes in composition due to fire and the lowest post-fire plant recovery – a sign of high vulnerability to fire.
Sponsor: This work was supported by the research projects PATTERN (AGCL2008/-05532-C02–01/FOR) and FEEDBACK (CGL2011–30515- C02–01) funded by the Spanish Ministry of Innovation and Science, and the project CASCADE (GA283068), funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/50914
ISSN: 1049-8001 (Print) | 1448-5516 (Online)
DOI: 10.1071/WF13150
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © IAWF 2014
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF13150
Appears in Collections:INV - GEB - Artículos de Revistas

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