Impacts of Land Management on the Resilience of Mediterranean Dry Forests to Fire

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Title: Impacts of Land Management on the Resilience of Mediterranean Dry Forests to Fire
Authors: Jucker Riva, Matteo | Liniger, Hanspeter | Valdecantos Dema, Alejandro | Schwilch, Gudrun
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ecología | CEAM (Centro Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo)
Keywords: Resilience | Land management | Wildfire | Mediterranean dry forest
Knowledge Area: Ecología
Issue Date: 29-Sep-2016
Publisher: MDPI
Citation: Jucker Riva M, Liniger H, Valdecantos A, Schwilch G. Impacts of Land Management on the Resilience of Mediterranean Dry Forests to Fire. Sustainability. 2016; 8(10):981. doi:10.3390/su8100981
Abstract: Wildfires have always been a part of the history of Mediterranean forests. However, forests are not always certain to regenerate after a wildfire. Whether they do depends on many factors, some of which may be influenced by land management activities. Failure to regenerate will cause a regime shift in the ecosystem, reducing the provision of ecosystem services and ultimately leading to desertification. How can we increase the resilience of Mediterranean forests to fire? Our approach to answering this question was twofold: first, we reviewed the literature to investigate chains of processes that allowed forests to regenerate (which we label Regeneration Mechanisms, or RMs); and second, we assessed the impact of selected management practices documented in the WOCAT database on these RMs. For the assessment, we evaluated the relation between the benefits and disadvantages of the land management practices on the one hand, and the hindering and supporting factors of the RMs on the other. We identified three distinct RMs that enable Mediterranean forests to recover, as well as the time frame before and after a fire in which they are at work, and factors that can hinder or support resilience. The three RMs enabling a forest to regenerate after a fire consist of regeneration (1) from a seed bank; (2) from resprouting individuals; and (3) from unburned plants that escaped the fire. Management practices were grouped into four categories: (1) fuel breaks; (2) fuel management; (3) afforestation; and (4) mulching. We assessed how and under what conditions land management modifies the ecosystem’s resilience. The results show that land management influences resilience by interacting with resilience mechanisms before and after the fire, and not just by modifying the fire regime. Our analysis demonstrates a need for adaptive—i.e., context- and time-specific—management strategies.
Sponsor: This paper was developed within the CASCADE project (Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement 283068). The authors acknowledge financial support from the CASCADE project and the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) action ES1104 “Arid Lands Restoration and Combat of Desertification”.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/69175
ISSN: 2071-1050
DOI: 10.3390/su8100981
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su8100981
Appears in Collections:Personal Investigador sin Adscripción a Grupo
Research funded by the EU

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