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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: 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


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. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as 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 refereed through a 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).


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

Published Papers (1 paper)

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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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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)

Figure 1

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: More than a decade after the 2003 Sant Llorenç wildfire: lessons learned in aquatic systems
Pablo Rodríguez-Lozano, Iraima Verkaik, Mireia Vila-Escalé, Pau Fortuño, Maria Rieradevall, Mario Monroy, Albert Maceda-Veiga, Dolors Vinyoles, Adolf de Sostoa, Teresa Vegas-Vilarrúbia, Joan Gomà, Jaume Cambra, Roser Campeny, Daniel Guinart, Angel Miño, Narcís Prat
Abstract: On August 2003, a forest fire affected the Sant Llorenç del Munt i l’Obac Natural Park (Barcelona), burning 4543 ha. This wildfire was a unique opportunity to study the fire effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the Mediterranean region, in part, thanks to the monitoring research that was being performed in that moment in the area, which led to valuable pre-fire knowledge of these ecosystems. Therefore, ecologists predicted short- and mid-term effects of the 2003 fire on land vegetation, terrestrial wildlife, and aquatic ecosystems based on scientific understanding of the time, and several research projects were conducted in the area, which became a natural laboratory. Ten-plus years of studying the fire impacts on different compartments of aquatic ecosystems allow us to gather the knowledge generated regarding riparian vegetation, water quality, stream biota, and ecological processes. Furthermore, we evaluate the impact of the post-fire restoration practices in the recovery of aquatic ecosystems. Looking ahead to projected more frequent large fires due to climate change, the documented ecological responses to the 2003 Sant Llorenç wildfire provide a foundation for predicting impacts of future fires in the Mediterranean region, for determining the knowledge gaps on this topic, and for nourishing management recommendations.

Title: Medium-term impact of post-fire emergency rehabilitation treatments on a forest ecosystem in Galicia (NW Spain)
Montserrat Raviña
: Santiago de Compostela, ‎CSIC
Abstract: The post-fire emergence rehabilitation techniques, seeding and mulching, are often recommended to reduce post-fire erosion. However, quantitative information concerning their effects on soil properties and hence on soil quality and their effectiveness both at short- and medium-term is scarce. In the present study the effectiveness of these two techniques 8 and 12 months after the application of the treatments as well as their effects on soil quality at medium-term (8-48 months after the fire) were studied. Soil samples were collected from the A horizon and a wide range of physicochemical, chemical and biochemical soil properties were analyzed. The mean efficiency of both seeding and mulching treatments in preventing soil erosion during the study period was 11 and 65 %, respectively. The fire effect on soil properties persisted even 4 years after the wildfire. Although, no effect of seeding or mulching on the vegetation cover was observed, the PLFA data showed that in the medium-term, fire may modify soil microbial communities by altering the plant community via plant-induced changes in the soil environment. Both stabilization treatments had a minor influence on the post-fire soil quality at medium-term; therefore, taking into account its effectiveness the mulching treatment is recommended as the best post-fire stabilization technique.

Authors: Anna Orczewska1, Ryszard J. Kaczka2, Karolina Bierza1, Marcin Prukop1, Adriana Strzelczyk1
Affiliation: 1Department of Ecology, Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, University of Silesia, ul. Bankowa 9, 40-007 Katowice, Poland, e-mail: anna.orczewska@us.edu.pl; tel. +48 32 359 15 48
2Faculty of Earth Science, University of Silesia, ul. Bedzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland, e-mail: ryszard.kaczka@us.edu.pl, tel. +48 32 3689 254
Abstract: The recent climate change, especially the constant increase of summer temperature and decrease of precipitation result in mounting the fire hazard in forests of Central Europe. One of the biggest in the region and the largest in Poland, human-induced forest fire took place in the Upper Silesia in August 1992, when more than 9000 hectares of pine and mixed pine-oak forest burned in four days. The remains of the burned trees were removed and replaced with the new stands originating either from planting or from spontaneous succession. However, small patches of forests that survived the fire, as well as subsequent natural process of forest succession were locally left undisturbed. Thus, we aimed at defining the role of such unburned forest in post-fire succession of vegetation and an influence of climate on the growth of trees in two habitats: post-fire forest composed of silver birch (Betula pendula) and relatively undisturbed black alder (Alnus glutinosa) stands. The pace of succession was defined based on the changes in species composition of the herb layer and on the tree-ring analyses of over 340 trees growing on the ~300 m long transect spanning from the unburned black alder forest trough area of post-fire stands up to another patch of undisturbed forest, dominated with black alder and ash (Fraxinus excelsior). Additionally, soil types along the transect were investigated. The age and species composition of trees changes along the transect from 60 years old alder-dominated stand at both ends to ~22 years old birch in the area of post-fire succession. The growth of the alder trees is influenced by the summer precipitation (r=0.38 p>0.01). The annual ring from 1992 (a year when fire took place) is particularly narrow in the case of all 40 oldest alders due to exceptionally hot (28-31.30C) dry (20% relative humidity) summer. The fire resulted in tree damage in 1992 and the narrow ring in the following year whereas 1994 was onset of typical post-fire increase of the growth. Furthermore, recently, in the period of the last five years, both alder and birch show the abrupt decrees of their growth (average growth rate reduced by factor 2 and 3, respectively), in both habitats. This could be due to observed changes of the climatic conditions resulting in the decrease of water availability during the growing season. The impact of fire was also well reflected in the successive changes of the herb layer composition. Unburned forests maintained rich populations of typical woodland species, not recorded in the central, severely burned part of the transect, composed of silver birch. Nevertheless, the successive migration of forest species form unburned into the post-fire forest was recorded. The fire transformed the edaphic conditions of the studied sites. However, the extent of this impact varied which was detectable in soil profiles morphology, chemical characteristics and in the enzymes activities along the transect. Habitat conditions and topography, especially local depressions like those occupied by black alder stands in our study sites, appear to be essential in the survivorship of forests during the fire, and subsequently of fire-sensitive forest species.

Title: Assessing the effectiveness of three hillslope stabilization treatments for reducing runoff-erosion processes and controlling nutrient losses in fire-affected ecosystems
Jonay Neris1*, Stefan H. Doerr1
1 Swansea University, Dpt. of Geography, College of Science. Swansea SA2 8PP, West Glamorgan, UK
Abstract: In the last decade major advances have been made in the field of hillslope stabilization treatments aimed at reducing runoff-erosion processes in fire-affected environments. However, the effect of these treatments on nutrient losses and their effectiveness in volcanic terrain have not been sufficiently evaluated to date. The objective of this paper is to fill these knowledge gaps by testing wood shreds mulch, pine needles mulch and polyacrylamide (PAM) as post-fire treatments. Rainfall simulations were conducted in two fire-affected sites in Tenerife (Spain) and runoff samples analysed to evaluate the effect of the stabilization treatments on nutrient losses. The results highlighted the effectiveness of the wood shred and needle mulches to reduce runoff and erosion processes. Both treatments significantly increased infiltration rate and decreased runoff coefficient, sediment yield and sediment concentration in the runoff in comparison to the control areas. PAM, however, reduced the infiltration and promoted the runoff processes, although it had no effect on the erosion response. Only the wood shred mulch showed a significant impact on nutrient losses, reducing the concentration and amount of ions transported by runoff. These findings highlight the effectiveness of the wood-based mulch for reducing runoff-erosion processes and preventing soil degradation.

Title: Effect of salvage logging on soil hydrological behaviour in a Mediterranean forest recently affected by a wildfire
Authors: Mataix-Solera 1, K. Chrenková 1,2, P. Dlapa 2, V. Arcenegui 1, P. Arnaiz 1, F. García-Orenes 1, A. Cerdá 3, E. García-Sánchez 1
Affiliations: 1 GEA, Department of Agrochemistry and Environment, University Miguel Hernández. Avda. Universitat, s/n, 03202, Elche, Alicante, Spain (jorge.mataix@umh.es)
2 Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Natural Science, Comenius University, Mlynská dolina B-2, 842 15 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
3 Soil Erosion and Degradation Research Group, Department of Geography, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
Abstract: In Mediterranean areas, water availability for plants is the main limiting factor for ecosystem restoration after fire. Post-fire management can have a negative impact on the soils that in some cases is even more severe than the fire itself. Salvage logging (SL) is a common management technique in fire-affected areas, but carrying it out, by using heavy machinery, leads to a consequent increase in the vulnerability to erosion and soil degradation. We monitored some soil properties in an area affected by a big forest fire (>500 has) in July 2012. The study area is located in the “Sierra de Mariola Natural Park”, Alicante (E Spain). The forest was composed mainly of Pinus halepensis trees with an understory of typical Mediterranean shrub species. The soil was classified as a Typic Xerorthent developed from Miocene marls. In February 2013, the SL treatment, comprising a complete extraction of the burnt wood using heavy machinery, was applied in a part of the affected forest. Plots for monitoring were installed and in a similar nearby area there was no treatment (control C) for comparison. Soil samplings were done immediately after treatment and every 6 months. We found that all soil properties were negatively affected by SL treatment compared with C plots: a progressive decrease with time of soil organic matter content, microbial biomass, soil respiration, aggregate stability, water holding capacity and an increase in bulk density were observed. In May 2014, undisturbed soil cores (100 cm3) from both treatments (C and SL) were taken in order to study water retention curves. Results showed differences between treatments, most likely due to differences in the pore size distribution of soils and the strong influence of parent material. The underlying marl rocks contain only very fine pores and thus they are “impermeable” once saturated with water. The water does not infiltrate into these rocks but flows down the surface and increases the erosion. The soil samples from SL treatments have higher content of coarse pores and thus they retain more water under wet conditions compared C samples where the humus horizon is preserved. But they have a lowered ability to retain water at high water tension in dry conditions. The soil samples from C plots showed the best properties. The soils have relatively stable structure and higher content of finer pores and thus the soil retains more water in dry conditions compared to the eroded soil at SL plots.

In addition to laboratory analyses, we studied the soil hydrological behaviour under field conditions using the portable rainfall simulator designed by Kamphorst (1987). Rainfall simulations (n=15) were performed comparing control plots (C), where no treatment was applied, over bare soil in salvage logging treatment area (BSL) which represents more than 50% of surface, and after applying a mulch of pine needles (MPN) in BSL area. Data obtained from rainfall simulation experiments showed that time to runoff was less in control area than in BSL and MPN plots, but not very significant differences were observed between treatments. However, percentage of runoff and soil erosion rates showed significant differences between control and others. Bare soil in salvage logging area showed mean values of runoff and erosion much more higher than in control plots. The application of a mulch of pine needles considerably reduced these values, especially for erosion but mean values measured were still higher than in control plots, indicating that despite protecting the soil with a mulching, soil properties still control the hydrological response.

Title: Analytical empirical modeling of infiltration ditches as a mechanism for the restoration of watersheds in post-fire phase
Authors: Dr. Juan Luis Araya Silva1, Dr. Rogers Atero Montes2, Dr. Samuel Francke3
Affiliations: 1 Universidad de Santiago de Chile
2 Universidad Finis Terrae
Abstract:Forest fires annually devastate hundreds of hectares in the Central South of Chile, generating economic losses, loss of plant biodiversity and causing severe alterations in the upper strata of the soils, causing them to lose their capacity to generate goods and services.

Given this scenario, the restoration of watersheds is installed as a socio-environmental paradigm of the first order to restore the watersheds to their initial states in such a way that it can face on its own the erosive processes that are produced by the alterations generated by a wildfire.

In order to confront this scenario, we propose the empirical analytical modeling of infiltration ditches; based on linearized and non-linearized dynamic models to determine the heights and outflow levels of the trenches. These models allow to establish the operating schemes for phenomena of water infiltration and decrease of sedimentation in the post fire phase.

Title: Short term effect of post-fire management after a wildfire in a Mediterranean forest. Ódena, NE Iberian Peninsula.
Authors: Marcos Francos1*, Paulo Pereira2, Meritxell Alcañiz1 and Xavier Úbeda1
Affiliations: 1GRAM (Grup de Recerca Ambiental Mediterrània). Department of Geography. University of Barcelona. Montalegre, 6. 08001. Barcelona.
2Environmental Management Centre, Mykolas Romeris University. Vilnius, Lithuania.
Post-fire management after severe wildfires has impact on soil properties. This intervention may change soil physical and chemical properties. The aim of this work is to study the impact of different types of forest management on soil physical and chemical properties after a severe wildfire in the first 6 months after the fire (until the first spring). The studied forest was affected by a wildfire in 1986 and in 2015. Two months after fire occurred in 2015, an experimental plot was designed. It is composed by three subplots with three different forest management. The three managements were: Cut and Remove (CR) where the trunks were cut and removed manually, No Treatment (NT) where the burned trunks were not cut, and Cut and Leave (CL) where the trunks were cut and left randomly in topsoil. In each subplot (2x2 meters) we collected 3 samples (0-2.5 cm depth), being a total of 9 samples in each management. The properties analyzed were: Aggregate Stability, Total Carbon, Total Nitrogen, Soil Organic Matter, Inorganic Carbon, C/N ratio, pH, Electrical Conductivity, Extractable Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Sodium (Na) and Potassium (K). The results showed that in the immediate period after the fire, Cut and Remove management changed the soil properties, especially in the spring.
Keywords: post-fire management; fire severity; soil chemical properties; fire recurrence

Title: Post-wildfire pine early seedling recruitment in different stand types remaining after forest fires in central Spain.
M.E. Lucas-Borjaa,*; D. Candel-Péreza,b, T. Onkelinxc, Peter Z. Fuled, D. Moyaa, J. de las Herasa
Affiliation: a Higher Technical School of Agricultural and Forestry Engineering, Castilla-La Mancha University, Campus Universitario s/n, 02071 Albacete, Spain
b Departmento de Ciencias del Medio Natural, Universidad Pública de Navarra, Campus de Arrosadía s/n, 31006 Pamplona (Navarra), Spain
c Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), Kliniekstraat 25, 1070 Brussels, Belgium
d Northern Arizona University , School of Forestry, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
Abstract: Seedling recruitment is a fundamental process of forest dynamics, especially important in forest burned areas. The stages of seed germination, seedling survival and early seedling growth, have been recognized as the most limiting stages to natural regeneration and therefore determinant factors of forest structure. After forest fires, seed origin and remaining forest stand characteristics after forest fires may influence seedling emergence and survival. Some silvicultural operations can promote better conditions to favor initial recruitment. This study aims to test the pine seed emergence and seedling survival of different seed provenances in combination with stand types during the first growing season following a severe wildfire in Cuenca Mountains (Central Spain). Three different basal area remaining after forest fires were selected as follows: mature forest stand (22 m2 ha-1 and 80-100 years old), a young forest stand (12 m2 ha-1 and 20-40 years old) and a totally burned area without canopy cover (0 m2 ha-1). Three seed provenances were sown in the selected basal area intervals: seeds from upland, midland and lowland Spanish black pine (Pinus nigra Arn, ssp salzmanii) forests, seeds of two coexisting pine species (lowland maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.) and upland Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), both from the Cuenca Mountain Range). Results showed that seedlings coming from upland and midland P. nigra seed origins tolerated and were better adapted to the 2011 climatic conditions in the study area. No seedlings survived the first growing season in the mature and young stand types. Moreover, seed predation completely prevented seed recruitment in all seed species used in this study, representing a “bottleneck” in the regeneration process after forest fires. This work may help to understand the importance of climate conditions, forest structure and seed origin in regenerating forest stands after forest fires.

Title: Effects of agricultural terraces and fire recurrence on soil quality in three contrasted Mediterranean afforested micro-catchments 
Authors: Lucas-Borja, M.E1, Calsamiglia, A.2, Fortesa, J.2, García-Comendador, J.2, Estrany, J.2
Affiliations: 1Departamento de Ciencia y Tecnología Agroforestal y Genética, Universidad de Castilla La Mancha. Campus Universitario s/n, C.P. 02071, Albacete (Spain). Tel: 0034 967555320; Fax: 0034 967599238.
2Mediterranean Ecogeomorphological and Hydrological Connectivity Research Team  Department of Geography, University of the Balearic Islands, E-07122 Palma, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain
Abstract: Abandonment of terraced lands lead to afforestation increasing fire risk and land degradation. The relations between two biochemical soil properties may be used as simple indexes of soil quality to evaluate soil deterioration in terraced and burned areas. This work assesses the effect of fire recurrence and terracing in soil quality by using metabolic quotient (qCO2), mineralization coefficient (Qcm), soil microbial biomass and total organic carbon ratio (MCB/TOC) and Synthetic index (SEI). The presence of terraces and the forest fire recurrence in the last 20 years were sampled in thirty-six plots of 25 m2 along three micro-catchments collecting four replicas at the corners of each plot. Non-terraced plots exhibited significantly (p < 0.05) higher ratio values; i.e., qCO2 index: 0.010 mg C-CO2 g-1 Cmic h-1 in terraced plots and 0.025 mg C-CO2 g-1 Cmic h-1 in non-terraced plots. However, fire recurrence did not illustrate a significant effect on both non- and terraced plots although consistently presenting lower soil indexes values.

Title: Predation influence on seedling recruitment in Mediterranean forests after prescribed burning
Javier Sagra1, Pedro Antonio Plaza-Álvarez1, Daniel Moya1, Manuel Esteban Lucas-Borja1, Raquel Alfaro Sánchez2, Jorge de las Heras Ibáñez1 and Pablo Ferrandis1
1Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos y de Montes de Albacete, Universidad de Castilla La Mancha. 2University of Arizona- Laboratory of Tree Ring Research. Tucson, Arizona, USA
Abstract: Wildfires play a significant role on many different elements of the Mediterranean forest ecosystems. In recent years, prescribed fires have started to be more oftern used as a fuel reduction tool, as well as silvicultural treatment to help regeneration and health improvement of the stands. However, other than the fact that fire may alter microsite conditions, little is known about the impact of prescribed burning on natural regeneration or plant species renewal. Likewise, knowledge about the influence of seedling predators on the regeneration after the fire is still scarce. In this study, we aim to compare the effects of seed predation on the development of seedlings in three different pine stands in Central Spain: a pure stand of Pinus nigra, and two mixed stands of P. halepensis-P. pinaster and P. nigra- P. pinaster respectively. In each of these sited we sowed just beneath the soil surface seeds from two different species. Furthermore, different seed provenances for every specie (from Spanish dry and wet locations) were sowed in the experiment. In total 60 plots (30 burned and 30 control) per site, with 10 seeding units per plot and more than 20.000 seeds used in the whole study. Seed 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 do alter initial seedling predation dynamics. Predation was significantly higher on the seedlings growing on the plots affected by the prescribed fire. In the case of P. halepensis and P. pinaster they showed higher rates of predation on seedlings coming from colder provenances. The effect of fire did not seem to have a clear consequence on the predation. To understand the role of predation on these treatments can help to improve the efficiency of regeneration burns in Mediterranean pine forests.
: Predation; Seed emergence; seeding survival; Mediterranean forest; prescribed fires; ecological restoration

Title: Effects of low intensity prescribed burnings on soil infiltration and water repellency in a Mediterranean pine forest
Authors: Pedro Antonio Plaza-Álvarez1, Javier Sagra1, Daniel Moya1, Manuel Esteban Lucas-Borja1, Raquel Alfaro Sánchez2 and Jorge de las Heras Ibáñez1
Affiliations: 1Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos y de Montes de Albacete, Universidad de Castilla La Mancha
2University of Arizona- Laboratory of Tree Ring Research. Tucson, Arizona, USA
Abstract: Prescribed burnings are a very effective forest fuel removal tool since most of the fine fuel is reduced from the soil surface. However, prescribed burnings, not only reduce the vegetal fuel, but also may alter plant-soil inter phase, such as surface soil seed banks or soil properties. The objective of the current study is to evaluate the prescribed burnings disturbance in soil properties specifically on water repellency and soil hydraulic conductivity. In spring of 2016, three prescribed burnings were conducted in three forest sites: (i) a mixed Pinus halepensis and P. Pinaster, (ii) a mixed P. pinaster and P. nigra ssp. salzmannii f, and (iii) a pure P. nigra ssp. salmannii. Six plots (three burned and three unburned) were established at each forest area. Hydraulic conductivity (minidisk infiltometer) and water repellency (water drop penetration time method) both were measured in two places by plot depending of vegetal coverture (dense vegetation and little vegetation) before and immediately after prescribed burnings following periodically during one year in the three forest areas. Our results showed that both water repellency and soil infiltration significantly increased immediately after the burning in comparison to control plots. Two month after fire passage, water repellency was similar to control plots while hydraulic conductivity continued significantly higher than control plots during several months. In spite of low intensity of burning, there was significant changes in the properties analyzed but, no differences related to density vegetation were found in relation to the studied soil properties.
Keywords: Low-intensity fires; hydraulic conductivity; water repellency; prescribed burning; Mediterranean forest

Title: Strategies and policies for post-fire forest management in China
Authors: Caifang Luo, Zehao Shen, Lingxiao Ying
Affiliation: Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Abstract: Post-fire forest management is critical for habitat protection, forest regeneration and sustainability of ecosystem in the burned area. Fire is a common disturbance in forests of China, mostly caused by human activities, but post-fire forest management as a science-based practice has started only in the last decade, and the studies of ecological effects of post-fire forest management are still inadequate and sparse. In this paper, we reviewed the policy development for forest fire prevention and post-fire forest management in China, meta-analyzed the studies of post-fire forest management as both the traditional practices and as modern forest management strategies, and then summarized the effect of post-fire management measures on fire-prone ecosystem, with regard to habitat conservation and forest regeneration. For those studies of post-fire forest management that published in both Chinese and English journals since 1990, over 70% were about the boreal forests in Northeast China, which is a part of the taiga forest zone extending across the temperate Eurasia, and 20% for subtropical forests that is characterized by monsoon climate with a prominent dry season. The annual records of forest fires in these two regional, however, constituted 15% and 70% of the annual number of all forest fires in China, respectively. The primary ecological impact of forest fire is forest swampiness in the boreal region, and soil erosion in the subtropical forests. In China, the traditional post-fire management measures applied mostly in the early post-fire stage, and focused on treatment of coarse woody debris, surface soil conservation and forest regeneration; while fuel management, fire predicting and monitoring has become the recent emphasis of post-fire management. The application of post-fire management measures depends on fire severity, burned area and habitat condition (e.g. climate and topography), as well as population density and social-economic condition in the surrounding area. In contrast to the strategies of the post-fire forest management in western countries, less importance has been put on biodiversity conservation in China, alternatively more efforts has been devoted to canopy recovering and economic utilization of the land emptied by the fires. Comparing with the giant investment in fire-fighting and fire prevention propaganda in China, the capacity building of forest fire monitoring and dynamic fire-risk assessment is critical for post-fire forest management in the future.
Keywords: forest; post-fire management; policy and measures; forest regeneration; habitat conservation; China



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