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Special Issue "Effects of Post-Fire Management Activities on Forests"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Xavier Úbeda

GRAM (Mediterranean Environmental Research Group). Department of Geography, University of Barcelona, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: forests fire; forests ecology; prescribed fires, soils, hydrology.
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Victoria Arcenegui

GEA (Environmental Soil Science Group). Department of Environment and Agrochemistry, Miguel Hernández University, Elche, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: forests fire; hydrophobicity, aggregates, soils, hydrology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Significant changes in the configuration of forest ecosystems, when not related to climate, are frequently caused by the action of fires. Repeated fires can result in a different ecosystem than expected when solely considering the climatic situation in which it is located. Fire acts as an essential ecological factor for the distribution of biomes on Earth.

There are many factors that are responsible for changing fire regimes, their intensity, and their recurrence:

  • Widespread rural abandonment resulting in the accumulation of fuel.
  • The rapid extinguishment of small fires, due to increased efficiency of modern firefighting techniques, which has led to eradication of the ecological role of fire.
  • Land-use changes.
  • The replacement of native species with more productive, fast-growing species.
  • Global warming.

After a forest fire occurs, there is a question of whether to act, and if so, which types of post-fire management techniques to perform. Performing management actions in areas affected by fires is crucial for their recovery, but sometimes post-fire management may have more of an effect on the environment than the fire itself. This must be carefully studied and corrected.

Of special interest is the study of certain post-fire management techniques and their possible effects, such as:

  • The best approach to extracting burnt wood.
  • Usage of mulch treatment after a fire occurrence to avoid soil degradation.
  • The reduction of the vegetation density, to avoid a high accumulation of fuel sources after a fire.

It would also be interesting to learn about the effects that prescribed fires, utilized as a management tool, can have on different forest ecosystems, as well as whether there are possible land-use changes after forest fire occurrences.

The objective of this Special Issue is to learn about types of post-fire management techniques that can guarantee the preservation of forest ecology and also, from an economic point of view, preserve potential forest-based business models that rely on forest products. Utilizing these management techniques should avoid negative processes, diseases, erosion, or detrimental contributions to forest structures, which can cause renewed and severe forest fires.

Dr. Xavier Úbeda
Dr. Victoria Arcenegui
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Forests fires
  • Forest management
  • Forest ecosystems
  • Post-fire actions
  • Soils
  • Vegetation recovery

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Direct Seeding of Pinus halepensis Mill. for Recovery of Burned Semi-Arid Forests: Implications for Post-Fire Management for Improving Natural Regeneration
Forests 2017, 8(9), 353; doi:10.3390/f8090353
Received: 20 June 2017 / Revised: 12 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 20 September 2017
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Abstract
Background: In order to maximize the resiliency of Pinus halepensis in semiarid forests, we analyzed direct seeding methods to recover burned stands by simulating post-fire soil treatments. Methods: Seeding was done by installing spot seeding (100 seeds in a 50 × 50 cm
[...] Read more.
Background: In order to maximize the resiliency of Pinus halepensis in semiarid forests, we analyzed direct seeding methods to recover burned stands by simulating post-fire soil treatments. Methods: Seeding was done by installing spot seeding (100 seeds in a 50 × 50 cm plot), using five methods: (1) covering seeding with wood chips; (2) seeding in branch piles; (3) seeding along trunks on contour-felled logs (on the shaded side); (4) seeding next to grass (Stipa tenacissima); and (5) seeding on the bare ground (control). The experiment was replicated according to aspect (northern and southern aspects). The response variables were seed germination (%), and seedling survival after the summer (measured in autumn 2015 and 2016). Direct seeding was carried out in 32 plots with 160-spot seeding, and data were analyzed using general linear models, including nested random effects. Results: Wood chips as a surface-covering material represented the only treatment that significantly improved seed germination and seedling survival (by 12.4%, and 17.4 seedlings m−2 in year 2, respectively) compared with the control in the two topographic aspects. Conclusions: Covering seeding with wood chips, and thus chipping wood within the burned stand, form a recommended post-fire treatment to improve regeneration in Pinus halepensis semiarid stands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Post-Fire Management Activities on Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Soil Respiration Changes after Prescribed Fires in Spanish Black Pine (Pinus nigra Arn. ssp. salzmannii) Monospecific and Mixed Forest Stands
Forests 2017, 8(7), 248; doi:10.3390/f8070248
Received: 25 April 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
PDF Full-text (1176 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Soil respiration is a major carbon pathway sensitive to environmental changes. Using prescribed burnings to reduce fuel accumulation and lower risks of large-scale wildfires has recently become more important. Prescribed burning can significantly alter the soil environment, but its effect in practice on
[...] Read more.
Soil respiration is a major carbon pathway sensitive to environmental changes. Using prescribed burnings to reduce fuel accumulation and lower risks of large-scale wildfires has recently become more important. Prescribed burning can significantly alter the soil environment, but its effect in practice on soil respiration is not sufficiently understood. We evaluated the effects of prescribed burning on soil respiration before and after burning (May–July 2016). Prescribed burning was conducted in two natural pine areas by comparing a mixed stand of Pinus nigra Arn. ssp. salzmannii with Pinus pinaster Ait. to a pure stand of Pinus nigra Arn. ssp. salzmannii in the central Iberian Peninsula. Soil respiration was measured by an EGM-4 (Environmental Gas Monitor) infrared gas analyser in both burned and unburned (control) plots. Burnings were low-intensity, and slightly more energetic in the pure stand given its larger litter volume. Post-burning soil respiration followed a similar evolution to that in the control plots, but was greater in the pure stand burned zone and slightly lower in the burned plots in the mixed stand. No significant differences were found in any stand. Soil respiration significantly changed in temporal evolution due to increasing temperatures when summer began. We conclude that prescribed fire induces no changes in SR immediately after fire. This study helps understand how prescribed burnings can affect soil respiration in pure and mixed Spanish black pine forest stands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Post-Fire Management Activities on Forests)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Effectiveness of Polyacrylamide, Wood Shred Mulch, and Pine Needle Mulch as Post-Fire Hillslope Stabilization Treatments in Two Contrasting Volcanic Soils
Forests 2017, 8(7), 247; doi:10.3390/f8070247
Received: 5 May 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 29 June 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
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Abstract
Post-fire hillslope stabilization treatments aim to reduce runoff-erosion risks following forest fires by counteracting the impact of fire on key soil and hillslope properties. Here we evaluate the effectiveness of wood shred mulch, long-leaved pine needle mulch, and polyacrylamide (PAM) in reducing post-fire
[...] Read more.
Post-fire hillslope stabilization treatments aim to reduce runoff-erosion risks following forest fires by counteracting the impact of fire on key soil and hillslope properties. Here we evaluate the effectiveness of wood shred mulch, long-leaved pine needle mulch, and polyacrylamide (PAM) in reducing post-fire runoff and erosion in two volcanic soil types of contrasting wettability using rainfall simulations (55 mm h−1 for 30 min) at the microplot (0.25 m2) scale. The cover provided by the wood shreds and pine needles led to a reduction of runoff and erosion in both the wettable—(62% and 92%, respectively, for wood shreds, and 55% and 87%, respectively, for needle mulch) and the extremely water-repellent soils (44% and 61%, respectively, for wood shreds). In contrast to what might be expected, PAM did not reduce runoff or erosion when applied to the extremely water-repellent soils, suggesting that PAM should not be applied in this terrain type. Although more research is needed to determine whether the high effectiveness of pine needle mulch and wood shred mulch fully translates to coarser scales, the results are encouraging in terms of these materials’ ability to provide effective and relatively economic mitigation treatments for fire-induced runoff-erosion risks in volcanic soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Post-Fire Management Activities on Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Predation on Early Recruitment in Mediterranean Forests after Prescribed Fires
Forests 2017, 8(7), 243; doi:10.3390/f8070243
Received: 21 April 2017 / Revised: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 5 July 2017 / Published: 8 July 2017
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Abstract
Wildfires play a significant role in many different elements of Mediterranean forest ecosystems. In recent years, prescribed fires have started being used more often as a fuel reduction tool, and also as silvicultural treatment to help the regeneration and health improvement of stands.
[...] Read more.
Wildfires play a significant role in many different elements of Mediterranean forest ecosystems. In recent years, prescribed fires have started being used more often as a fuel reduction tool, and also as silvicultural treatment to help the regeneration and health improvement of stands. Apart from the fact that fire may alter microsite conditions, very little is known about the impact of prescribed burning on natural regeneration or plant species renewal in Mediterranean pine forests. Likewise, knowledge about the influence of seedling predators on post-fire regeneration is still scarce. In this study, we aimed to compare the effects of seedling predation on recruitment in earlier stages after prescribed burnings in three pine stands in Central Spain: a pure stand of Pinus nigra; a mixed stand of Pinus halepensis and Pinus pinaster and a mixed stand P. nigra with P. pinaster. In situ we superficially sowed seeds from two different species. In the sowing experiment, we tested two different seed provenances (drier and more humid spanish regions) for each species. In all, 60 plots (30 burned, 30 unburned) per site, with 10 seeding units per plot and more than 20,000 seeds, were used in the whole study. Seedling predation was evaluated by replicating the seeding units inside and outside a wire cage as protection for rodents and birds. Our results showed that prescribed fires alter initial seedling predation intensity: predation was significantly higher in the seedlings grown in the plots affected by prescribed fire. The individuals sown before the fire passed showed slightly more predation than those sown after fire passage. Provenances did not appear as an important predation drive. Understanding the role of the predation associated with these treatments can help improve Mediterranean pine forest management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Post-Fire Management Activities on Forests)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Seed Origin and Protection Are Important Factors Affecting Post-Fire Initial Recruitment in Pine Forest Areas
Forests 2017, 8(6), 185; doi:10.3390/f8060185
Received: 23 April 2017 / Revised: 23 May 2017 / Accepted: 24 May 2017 / Published: 27 May 2017
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Abstract
Initial seedling recruitment is one of the most critical stages for plants in the Mediterranean basin. Moreover, wildfires and post-fire environmental conditions might deteriorate regeneration success, which can lead to problems for sustainable forest restoration and forest persistence. On this context, different seed
[...] Read more.
Initial seedling recruitment is one of the most critical stages for plants in the Mediterranean basin. Moreover, wildfires and post-fire environmental conditions might deteriorate regeneration success, which can lead to problems for sustainable forest restoration and forest persistence. On this context, different seed origins and pine species may be better adapted to new environmental conditions remaining after forest fires and seed protection might modulate seedling initial recruitment. This study evaluates the effects of seed origin (Pinus nigra Arn. subsp. salzmannii Dunal (Franco) from lowland, midland and upland distribution areas), pine species (Pinus pinaster Aiton, Pinus sylvestris L. and Pinus nigra Arn. subsp. salzmannii Dunal (Franco)) and seed protection on seed emergence and early seedling survival after forest fires in the Cuenca Mountains. In addition, a greenhouse experiment was set up under controlled conditions to test seedling performance and to compare initial seedling growth of different P. nigra seed origins growing in field and greenhouse conditions. Results showed that wetter spring seasons and P. nigra seed origins from midland and upland distribution growing in their natural habitat distribution perform better that P. sylvestris and P. pinaster. Seed protection is an important factor modulating the above-mentioned trend. P. nigra seeds growing at the greenhouse experiment showed differences in growth for extreme (upland or lowland) P. nigra distribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Post-Fire Management Activities on Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Contrasting Effects of Fire Severity on the Regeneration of Pinus halepensis Mill. and Resprouter Species in Recently Thinned Thickets
Forests 2017, 8(3), 55; doi:10.3390/f8030055
Received: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
Many studies have outlined the benefits for growth and reproduction resulting from thinning extremely crowded young forests regenerating after stand replacing wildfires (“thickets”). However, scarce information is available on how thinning may influence fire severity and vegetation regeneration in case a new fire
[...] Read more.
Many studies have outlined the benefits for growth and reproduction resulting from thinning extremely crowded young forests regenerating after stand replacing wildfires (“thickets”). However, scarce information is available on how thinning may influence fire severity and vegetation regeneration in case a new fire occurs. We investigated the relationship between thinning and fire severity in P. halepensis thickets, and the effects on the establishment of pine seedlings and resprouting vigour in resprouter species the year after the fire. Our results show a positive relationship between forest basal area and fire severity, and thus reserved pines in thinned stands suffered less fire damage than those in un‐thinned sites (respectively, 2.02 ± 0.13 vs. 2.93 ± 0.15 in a scale from 0 to 4). Ultimately, differences in fire severity influenced post‐fire regeneration. Resprouting vigour varied depending on the species and the size of individuals but it was consistently higher in thinned stands. Concerning P. halepensis, the proportion of cones surviving the fire decreased with fire severity. However, this could not compensate the much lower pine density in thinned stands and thus the overall seed crop was higher in un‐thinned areas. Establishment of pine seedlings was negatively affected by the slope and positively driven by the number of cones and thus it was higher in un‐thinned than in thinned stands (respectively, 2581 ± 649 vs. 898 ± 325 seedlings∙ha-1). Thinning decreases fire intensity, and thus it may facilitate fire suppression tasks, but retaining a higher density of pines would be necessary to ensure P. halepensis regeneration after a new fire event. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Post-Fire Management Activities on Forests)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Post-Fire Restoration Plan for Sustainable Forest Management in South Korea
Forests 2017, 8(6), 188; doi:10.3390/f8060188
Received: 19 March 2017 / Revised: 22 May 2017 / Accepted: 25 May 2017 / Published: 30 May 2017
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Abstract
This review was to determine a standard post-fire restoration strategy for use in South Korea according to the magnitude of the damage and the condition of the affected site. The government has strongly enforced reforestation in deforested areas as well as fire prevention
[...] Read more.
This review was to determine a standard post-fire restoration strategy for use in South Korea according to the magnitude of the damage and the condition of the affected site. The government has strongly enforced reforestation in deforested areas as well as fire prevention and suppression since the 1960s. These efforts have successfully recovered dense even-aged forests over the last five decades. However, high fuel loading and the homogeneous structure have made forests vulnerable to large fires. In recent years, large forest fires have occurred in the eastern coastal region of Korea. Forest fires can significantly influence the economic and social activities of the residents of such affected forest regions. Burned areas may require urgent and long-term restoration strategies, depending on the condition of the affected site. Erosion control is the most important component of an urgent restoration and should be completed before a rainy season to prevent secondary damage such as landslides and sediment runoff in burned areas. Long-term restoration is necessary to renew forest functions such as timber production, water conservation, ecosystem conservation, and recreation for residents. Sound restoration for burned areas is critical for restoring healthy ecological functions of forests and providing economic incentives to local residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Post-Fire Management Activities on Forests)
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