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Forests 2017, 8(3), 55; doi:10.3390/f8030055

Contrasting Effects of Fire Severity on the Regeneration of Pinus halepensis Mill. and Resprouter Species in Recently Thinned Thickets

CREAF, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Catalonia 08193, Spain
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Academic Editors: Xavier Úbeda and Victoria Arcenegui
Received: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Post-Fire Management Activities on Forests)
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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 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: fire severity; Mediterranean forests; Pinus halepensis; post‐fire regeneration; seed bank;  selective thinning fire severity; Mediterranean forests; Pinus halepensis; post‐fire regeneration; seed bank;  selective thinning
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

García‐Jiménez, R.; Palmero‐Iniesta, M.; Espelta, J.M. Contrasting Effects of Fire Severity on the Regeneration of Pinus halepensis Mill. and Resprouter Species in Recently Thinned Thickets. Forests 2017, 8, 55.

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