In recent decades, fire regimes have been modified by various factors such as changes in land use, global change or forest management policies. The vulnerability of Mediterranean terrestrial ecosystems is increasing due to more severe and frequent droughts. This study aimed to determine the plant response of ecosystems during the short-term post-fire period by relating alpha diversity, floristic richness and tree recruitment dynamics to burn severity 5 years after a wildfire. Our results conclude that in the short term, Pinus halepensis
Mill. stands in southeastern Spain quickly recovered alpha diversity values, mainly in areas burned with low severity. We observed that moderate and high severities affected the ecosystem more significantly, showing higher values for the Shannon Index but lower for the Simpson index. Pine recruitment was higher in burned areas, and we found the highest number of Aleppo pine seedlings under a moderate burn severity. Post-fire regeneration functional groups (obligate seeders and resprouters) were promoted under moderate and high burn severity, increasing their abundance. Annual species (mainly herbs) colonized burned areas, persisting with higher presence under moderate burn severity. Restoration tools should be focused on reducing fire severity, mainly in areas at high risk of desertification, and promoting resistance, vulnerability and resilience of these ecosystems.
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