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Determination of the Environmental Factors that Affect the Growth and Survival of Greek Fir Seedlings

1
Dept. of Home Economics & Ecology, Harokopio University, 17676 Athens, Greece
2
General Dept., Agricultural University of Athens, 11855 Athens, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Land 2020, 9(4), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9040100
Received: 1 March 2020 / Revised: 24 March 2020 / Accepted: 26 March 2020 / Published: 28 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Soil-Sediment-Water Systems)
Forests in the montane-Mediterranean zone have only recently began to be affected by wildfires, therefore the knowledge necessary for restoration projects is missing. The aim of the study was to assess the effects of factors related to seedling attributes, weather conditions and site suitability on seedling performance. The characterisation of sites was based on bedrock and soil clay content as well as pre-fire vegetation. Apical growth and survival of seedlings was monitored for four years in Parnitha National Park. The parameters of a linear mixed model were estimated using annual apical growth of seedlings surviving in the end of the study as the dependent variable and type of site, rainfall, initial seedling height and age as explanatory ones. A quantile regression model using all the data available was estimated for each year of study, taking into account only initial height and site type as well as a logistic regression model of survival. The findings indicate that the growth of Greek fir seedlings depends on May rainfall mediated by soil clay content, which in turn depends on bedrock, which is consistent with the “inverse texture hypothesis”. Sites with low soil clay content were always more beneficial for survival, which was stronger affected by summer–autumn rainfall. In both contexts, drought stress due to soil clay content fades with increasing age. Sites that were not fir dominated prior to fire proved unsuitable also for planting fir seedlings. A minor part of the observed variability could be associated with the initial height of seedlings, especially for seedlings showing high rates of apical growth. View Full-Text
Keywords: Abies cephalonica Loudon; restoration; Parnitha National Park; apical growth; survival; seedling; inverse texture hypothesis Abies cephalonica Loudon; restoration; Parnitha National Park; apical growth; survival; seedling; inverse texture hypothesis
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Detsis, V.; Efthimiou, G.; Theodoropoulou, O.; Siorokou, S. Determination of the Environmental Factors that Affect the Growth and Survival of Greek Fir Seedlings. Land 2020, 9, 100.

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