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Forests 2017, 8(7), 252; doi:10.3390/f8070252

Post-Fire Salvage Logging Imposes a New Disturbance that Retards Succession: The Case of Bryophyte Communities in a Macaronesian Laurel Forest

1
Plant Conservation and Biogeography Research Group, Departamento de Botánica, Ecología y Fisiología vegetal, Universidad de La Laguna, C/Astrofísico Francisco Sánchez, s/n. 38071 La Laguna, Islas Canarias, Spain
2
Departamento de Ecología, Universidad de Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
3
Parque Nacional de Garajonay, Avda. V Centenario. Edificio las Creces, portal 1. 38800 San Sebastián de la Gomera, Islas Canarias, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 May 2017 / Revised: 5 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 15 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Post-Disturbance Forest Management and Regeneration Dynamics)
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Abstract

Post-fire salvage logging (SL) is a common management action that involves the harvesting of burnt trees. As a consequence, a large amount of biological legacies in the form of logs and other coarse woody debris are removed from the post-fire habitat, creating a more simplified landscape. Therefore, SL could act as an additional disturbance over that produced by fire. In this study, we seek to determine the effect of SL on the regeneration of the bryophyte community of a laurel forest from the Canary Islands (Spain). We hypothesized that SL will act as an additional disturbance and, consequently, salvaged areas will have a higher difference in community composition with respect to a reference ecosystem (RE). Mosses and liverworts were sampled 22 months after the salvage operations in salvaged plots, non-salvaged, and in an RE represented by areas of the original forest. Species richness did not differ between salvage and non-salvaged treatments. However, multivariate analysis and species-indicator analysis showed that non-salvaged plots had a composition closer to that of the RE, with a higher proportion of closed-canopy, perennial, and long-lived species, as well as some epiphytes. By contrast, salvaged plots were dominated by early-successional terrestrial species and species preferring open habitats. We conclude that post-fire SL represents an additional disturbance that further delays succession, a result that is consistent with previous studies using other taxonomic groups. SL should therefore be avoided or, if implemented, the possibility of leaving part of the post-fire biological legacies in situ should be considered. View Full-Text
Keywords: Canary islands; life strategy; perennials; colonists; post-fire management; conservation; Moss; liverwort Canary islands; life strategy; perennials; colonists; post-fire management; conservation; Moss; liverwort
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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

Hernández-Hernández, R.; Castro, J.; Del Arco-Aguilar, M.; Fernández-López, Á.; González-Mancebo, J.M. Post-Fire Salvage Logging Imposes a New Disturbance that Retards Succession: The Case of Bryophyte Communities in a Macaronesian Laurel Forest. Forests 2017, 8, 252.

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