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Special Issue "Fire Effects and Management in Forests"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jorge Antonio De las Heras Ibáñez

Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, CREA, Crta Las Penas, Km 3-2, Albacete 02071, Spain
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The increasing risk of fires and the loss of diversity and soil degradation, especially in areas with a Mediterranean climate, might be controlled through the application of different forest management strategies. There are many ways to respond after a wildfire, ranging from allowing nature to act, to providing generalized assistance in burned areas. In this context, a Special Issue is suggested that will consider the evaluation of post-fire natural regeneration and the effects of fire, short/medium-term monitoring of natural regeneration and soil and vegetation treatment techniques, the reproductive capacity of natural post-fire regeneration in resilient species, and the role of forests as a fundamental part of the carbon cycle. This includes different post-fire responses to fires with differing degrees of severity, the theoretical and practical concept of forest vulnerability to fire, and the consideration of post-fire forest management as a useful tool for the modification of the stand structure as well as the optimization of economic return, biodiversity, recreational value and the micro-environment. The cost-effectiveness of different post-fire treatment techniques is also not well known. Furthermore, the identification and study of areas at the wildland–urban interface (WUI) that are affected by fires poses a significant challenge to understanding the effects of forest fires from a socio-economic and ecological point of view.

Prof. Dr. Jorge Antonio de las Heras Ibáñez
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind 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 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • wildfires
  • severity
  • management
  • vulnerability

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Wildfire Alters Spatial Patterns of Available Soil Nitrogen and Understory Environments in a Valley Boreal Larch Forest
Forests 2019, 10(2), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020095
Received: 22 November 2018 / Revised: 6 January 2019 / Accepted: 15 January 2019 / Published: 25 January 2019
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Abstract
Wildfire, a primary natural disturbance in many forests, affects soil nutrient availability and spatial distributions of forest plants. However, post-fire changes in soil nutrients and spatial patterns of understory environments at fine scales are poorly understood. Here, we characterized spatial patterns of soil [...] Read more.
Wildfire, a primary natural disturbance in many forests, affects soil nutrient availability and spatial distributions of forest plants. However, post-fire changes in soil nutrients and spatial patterns of understory environments at fine scales are poorly understood. Here, we characterized spatial patterns of soil nitrogen availability and site characteristics at a 3-year-post-fire and an unburned site in a valley boreal larch forest. We also examined the relationship between soil nitrogen availability and site characteristics. The results showed that the burned site had higher NO3 and lower NH4+ than the control. The herb, litter and coarse wood debris cover was greater at the burned site than at the control site with higher soil pH, depth of the organic horizon (DOH) and shrub cover. Relative variability (coefficient of variation) in soil nitrogen and site characteristic variables at the control site was greater than at the burned site except for shrub and regeneration tree seedling cover. Spatial structure (quantified by semi-variograms) was lacking for soil nitrogen and site characteristic variables except for DOH, herb and shrub cover at the control site, but wildfire created a strong spatial structure for all variables. Shorter spatial autocorrelation ranges of soil nitrogen (1.6–3.5 m) and site characteristic variables (2.6–6.0 m) were detected at the burned site, indicating higher heterogeneity. The spatial scale of soil NH4+ was congruent with those of herb, shrub and regeneration tree seedling cover, indicating local coupling, while that of soil NO3 was not. The number of correlations between soil nitrogen and site characteristic variables in the burned site was greater than in the control. These results indicate that fire could not only create higher heterogeneity patches of soil resources, but also strengthen the local coupling between soil resources and understory vegetation, which may impact the establishment and growth of new individual plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fire Effects and Management in Forests)
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Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle Characteristics of Korean Forest Fires and Forest Fire Policies in the Joseon Dynasty Period (1392–1910) Derived From Historical Records
Forests 2019, 10(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010029
Received: 18 October 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 29 December 2018 / Published: 4 January 2019
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Abstract
This study examined the records of forest fire outbreaks and characteristics over the 518 years of the Joseon Dynasty period (1392–1910) through the analysis of major historical records of Korea. The historical books used in this study were 14 major national historical books, [...] Read more.
This study examined the records of forest fire outbreaks and characteristics over the 518 years of the Joseon Dynasty period (1392–1910) through the analysis of major historical records of Korea. The historical books used in this study were 14 major national historical books, and include the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty (朝鮮王朝實錄), the Diaries of the Royal Secretariat (承政院日記), and the literature was examined, centering on official records of the royal palace in the Joseon Dynasty period. The contents of forest fires recorded in the historical record literature include the overviews of outbreak, forest fire types, and forest fire damage. According to the results of analysis of historical records, the largest forest fire damage was in the forest fire that occurred on the east coast in 1672, in which 65 persons died and in the forest fire that occurred in the same area in 1804, in which 61 persons died and 2600 private houses were destroyed by fire. The causes of fire outbreak were shown to be unknown causes in 42 cases, accidental fires in 10 cases, arson in 3 cases, thunder strike in 3 cases, hunting activities in 2 cases, child playing with fire in 1 case, cultivating activities in 1 case, and house fire in 1 case. Forest fire outbreaks were analyzed by region and by season and according to the results, 56% (39 cases) of the forest fires broke out on the east coast and 73% (46 cases) broke out in the spring. Forest fire policies include those for general forests, those for reserved forests, those for prohibited forests, those for capital city forests, those for royal family’s graves, royal ancestral shrine, and placenta chamber, those for hunting grounds such as martial art teaching fields, and relief policies for people in areas damaged by forest fires, forest fire policies for national defense facilities such as beacon fire stations, and burning and burning control policies for pest control. In conclusion, due to the seriousness of forest fires in the Joseon Dynasty period, the royal authority and local administrative agencies made various forest fire prevention policies, policies for stabilization of the people’s livelihood damaged due to forest fires, and methods to manage major facilities in forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fire Effects and Management in Forests)
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Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle Mineral Soil Chemical Properties as Influenced by Long-Term Use of Prescribed Fire with Differing Frequencies in a Southeastern Coastal Plain Pine Forest
Forests 2018, 9(12), 739; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9120739
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 23 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
Recent studies suggest increased fire frequency may impair soil chemistry, but few studies have examined long-term effects of repeated, frequent prescribed fires on forest soil properties in the southeastern Coastal Plain, USA. In this study, forest soil chemistry at the 0–10 and 10–20 [...] Read more.
Recent studies suggest increased fire frequency may impair soil chemistry, but few studies have examined long-term effects of repeated, frequent prescribed fires on forest soil properties in the southeastern Coastal Plain, USA. In this study, forest soil chemistry at the 0–10 and 10–20 cm mineral soil depths of sandy surface horizons (Entisols and Spodosols) were compared among units burned 0, 4, 6, and 8 times between 2004 and 2015 and 0 and 20 times between 1978 and 2015 in a longleaf (Pinus palustris Mill.)–loblolly (Pinus taeda L.) pine savanna at the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center (Georgetown, SC, USA). At the 0–10 cm soil depth, soil pH (p = 0.00), sulfur (p = 0.01), calcium (p = 0.01), iron (p < 0.01), manganese (p < 0.01), and aluminum (p = 0.02) treatment means differed (2004–2015). Calcium and manganese displayed positive, significant relationships and sulfur displayed a negative, significant relationship with increasing fire frequency (p < 0.05). However, correlation of these relationships was low (r2 ≤ 0.23). Using linear contrasts to compare the mean of all fire treatments (20 fires from 1978 to 2015) to the mean of the unburned compartment, sulfur (p = 0.01) and iron (p < 0.01) were less in soils from the burned compartments. At the 10–20 cm soil depth, soil pH (p = 0.01), manganese (p = 0.04), phosphorus (p = 0.01), potassium (p = 0.02), and iron (p < 0.01) treatment means differed (2004–2015). Potassium displayed a negative, significant relationship and soil pH displayed a positive, significant relationship with increasing fire frequency (p < 0.05). Correlation of these relationships was low (r2 ≤ 0.16), however. Using linear contrasts to compare the mean of all fire treatments (20 fires from 1978 to 2015) to the unburned compartment, potassium (p = 0.00) and iron (p < 0.01) were less in soils from burned compartments. These results are inconsistent with studies suggesting that forest soil chemistry is substantially altered by increased fire frequency and support other studies from this region that have documented minimal or temporary soil chemical changes associated with frequent prescribed fires. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fire Effects and Management in Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Minimum Number of Time Since Last Fire Sample-Points Required to Estimate the Fire Cycle: Influences of Fire Rotation Length and Study Area Scale
Forests 2018, 9(11), 708; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9110708
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 8 November 2018 / Accepted: 12 November 2018 / Published: 14 November 2018
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Abstract
Boreal forest fire history is typically reconstructed using tree-ring based time since last fire (TSLF) frequency distributions from across the landscape. We employed stochastic landscape fire simulations to assess how large a study area and how many TSLF sample-points are required to estimate [...] Read more.
Boreal forest fire history is typically reconstructed using tree-ring based time since last fire (TSLF) frequency distributions from across the landscape. We employed stochastic landscape fire simulations to assess how large a study area and how many TSLF sample-points are required to estimate the fire cycle (FC) within a given accuracy, and if those requirements change with length of the simulated fire rotation (FRS). FRS is calculated from simulated fire-year maps used to create the TSLF map, and is the “true” measure of fire history that FC estimates should equal. Fire-year maps were created by (i) using a spatially homogenous landscape, (ii) imposing large variations in annual area burned, and (iii) having no age-related change in the hazard of burning. We found that study areas should be ≥3× the size of largest total annual area burned, with smaller-scale areas having a bias that cannot be fixed by employing more samples. For a study area scale of 3×, a FC estimate with an error <10% was obtained with 187 TSLF samples at 0.81 samples per 100 km2. FC estimates were not biased in study area scales that were ≥3×, but smaller-scale areas with a short FRS had an overestimated FC and smaller-scale areas with a long FRS had an underestimated FC. Site specific variations in environmental- and age-related variations in the hazard of burning may require more sample-points; site specific simulations should thus be conducted to determine sample numbers before conducting a TSLF field study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fire Effects and Management in Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of Fuel Moisture Content, Packing Ratio and Wind Velocity on the Ignition Probability of Fuel Beds Composed of Mongolian Oak Leaves via Cigarette Butts
Forests 2018, 9(9), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9090507
Received: 13 July 2018 / Revised: 14 August 2018 / Accepted: 17 August 2018 / Published: 22 August 2018
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Abstract
Cigarette butts are an important human firebrand and account for a significant amount of man-made fires. To better address forest fires caused by cigarette butts, the influencing factors governing the ignition probability of cigarette butts can be used to establish a prediction model. [...] Read more.
Cigarette butts are an important human firebrand and account for a significant amount of man-made fires. To better address forest fires caused by cigarette butts, the influencing factors governing the ignition probability of cigarette butts can be used to establish a prediction model. This study obtains the influencing factors of the ignition probability of cigarette butts in order to establish a prediction model by constructing fuel beds composed of Mongolian oak leaves with varied fuel moisture content and packing ratios. A total of 2520 ignition experiments were then conducted by dropping cigarette butts on the fuel beds to test the burning probability of the fuels under varied wind speeds. Moisture content, wind speed, and their interaction significantly influenced ignition probability. In the absence of wind, the ignition probability is zero. The maximum moisture content of Mongolian oak leaves that could be ignited by cigarette butts was 15%. A logistic model and self-built model for predicting the ignition probability were established using these results; the mean absolute error values for the two models were 2.71% and 1.13%, respectively, and the prediction error of the self-built model was lower than that of the logistic model. This is important research to mitigate the threat of forest fires due to cigarette butts given the frequent occurrence of these events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fire Effects and Management in Forests)
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