Special Issue "Forest Post-Fire Regeneration"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Leonor Calvo
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Guest Editor
Area of Ecology, Department of Biodiversity and Environmental Management, University of León, E-24071 Leon, Spain
Interests: wildfire; resilience; post-fire regeneration
Prof. Dr. Susana Suárez-Seoane
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biodiversity and Environmental Management, University of León, E-24071 Leon, Spain
Interests: biogeography; bird conservation; ecosystem services; fire-prone ecosystems; fire regime; heathlands; land use change; landscape ecology; mountain systems; perturbations; remote sensing; species distribution models; vegetation regeneration; wildland fires
Dr. Elena Marcos
Website
Guest Editor
Universidad de León: León, Castilla y León, Spain
Interests: Atmospheric pollution, effects of perturbations on soil and vegetation nutrients, forestry, soil burn severity, soil quality
Dr. Angela Taboada
Website
Guest Editor
Universidad de León: León, Castilla y León, Spain
Interests: Applied ecology, global environmental change, wildfires, forestry, ecosystem services, trophic interactions, atmospheric pollution

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

During the last decades, forest systems have suffered an increase in the occurrence, extent, and severity of wildfires that affect their post-fire natural regeneration and their resilience to future fires. Moreover, the altered resilience to fire of forest systems under different environmental conditions endangers their ability to supply public goods and ecosystem services to society. Such changes in the post-fire response of forest systems are particularly critical when they are subjected to large fires that are an even more frequent phenomenon. Vegetation recovery after a fire is started by seedling recruitment from a seed bank or by sprouting from below-ground vegetative buds. Life-forms and other life historical features interact with regeneration strategies and with physical and chemical components of the environment, creating a complex framework within which regeneration takes place. Knowledge of the response of forests to fire is of crucial importance for management purposes, especially when the objective is to maintain their biodiversity and to transform them into more resilient systems. This Special Issue consists of a presentation of high quality scientific papers on the effects of prescribed fires on forest ecosystems, post-fire regeneration after wildfires, and spatial models of post-fire regeneration, in order to increase knowledge to promote efficient forest system management strategies to conserve the ecosystem services they provide.

Dr. Leonor Calvo
Dr. Susana Suárez-Seoane
Dr. Elena Marcos
Dr. Angela Taboada
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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

  • forest fires
  • fire recurrence
  • fire severity
  • vegetation regeneration
  • ecosystem services
  • resilience
  • spatial models
  • remote sensing

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Soil Functional Responses to Natural Ecosystem Restoration of a Pine Forest Peucedano-Pinetum after a Fire
Forests 2020, 11(3), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11030286 - 01 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Progressing climate change increases the frequency of droughts and the risk of the occurrence of forest fires with an increasing range and a dramatic course. The availability of water and its movement within an ecosystem is a fundamental control of biological activity and [...] Read more.
Progressing climate change increases the frequency of droughts and the risk of the occurrence of forest fires with an increasing range and a dramatic course. The availability of water and its movement within an ecosystem is a fundamental control of biological activity and physical properties, influencing many climatic processes, whereas soil water repellency (SWR) is a key phenomenon affecting water infiltration into the soil system. Focusing on wide-spectrum effects of fire on the soil system, the research was conducted on a pine stand (Peucedano-Pinetum W. Mat. (1962) 1973) in Kampinos National Park located in central Poland, affected by severe and weak fires, as well as control plots. The main aim of the study was to examine the regeneration of the ecosystem 28 months after the occurrence of a fire. The effect of SWR and soil moisture content, total organic carbon, nitrogen and pH, and gain an understanding of the environmental conditions and processes that shaped the evolution of the species structure of soil microorganism communities (fungal vs. bacterial) have been examined. The Water Drop Penetration Time (WDPT) test was used to assess spatial variability of SWR in 28 plots. Soil bacterial and fungal communities were analysed by Illumina’MISeq using 16S rRNA and Internal Transcribed Spacers 1 (ITS1) regions in six selected plots. After a relatively wet summer, elevated hydrophobicity occurred in areas affected by a weak fire as much as 20 cm into the soil depth. The severe fire and subsequent increase in the richness of the succession of non-forest species contributed to the elimination of hydrophobicity. SWR was more closely linked to the structure and diversity of soil microbial communities than soil physicochemical properties that took place in response to the fire. A statistically significant relationship between the relative occurrence of microorganisms (≥ 1.0% in at least one of the samples) and SWR was established for the following fungi and bacteria species: Archaeorhizomyces sp., Leotiomycetes sp., Byssonectria fusispora, Russula vesca, Geminibasidium sp., family Isosphaeraceae and Cyanobacteria (class 4C0d-2, order MLE1-12). Insight into the functional roles of the individual identified microbial taxa that may be responsible for the occurrence of hydrophobicity was also presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Post-Fire Regeneration)
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Open AccessArticle
Do Fire Regime Attributes Affect Soil Biochemical Properties in the Same Way under Different Environmental Conditions?
Forests 2020, 11(3), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11030274 - 28 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Global change is altering fire frequency and severity in many regions across the world. In this work, we studied the impact of different frequency and severity regimes on the soil biochemical properties in burned areas with different environmental conditions. We selected three sites [...] Read more.
Global change is altering fire frequency and severity in many regions across the world. In this work, we studied the impact of different frequency and severity regimes on the soil biochemical properties in burned areas with different environmental conditions. We selected three sites dominated by pine ecosystems along a Mediterranean-Transition-Oceanic climatic gradient, where we determined the fire frequency, and severity of the last wildfire. Four years after the last wildfire, we established 184 4 m2 plots. In each plot, we collected a composed soil sample from a 3 cm depth, and measured several ecological variables potentially affected by the fire frequency and severity (cover of bare soil, cover of fine and coarse plant debris, cover of vegetation, and vegetation height). From each soil sample, we analyzed the enzymatic activities corresponding to the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus (β-glucosidase, urease, and acid-phosphatase, respectively), and the microbial biomass carbon. The results indicated that fire frequency only played a significant role in soil biochemical properties at the Mediterranean and Transition sites. Specifically, we found that increases in frequency contributed to increased urease and phosphatase activities (at the Transition site), as well as microbial biomass carbon (at the Mediterranean and Transition sites). In relation to burn severity, we found opposite patterns when comparing the Mediterranean and Oceanic sites. Specifically, increased severity significantly decreased β-glucosidase, urease, and microbial biomass carbon at the Mediterranean site, whereas at the Oceanic one, severity significantly increased them. Burn severity also decreased microbial biomass carbon at the Transition site. Our results also indicated that, overall, fire frequency determined the studied ecological variables at the Mediterranean and Transition sites, but clear indirect effects on biochemical properties due to changes in ecological variables were not found. This study adds to the knowledge on the impact of shifts in fire regimes on soils in the current context of change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Post-Fire Regeneration)
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Open AccessArticle
Post-Fire Resprouting in New Zealand Woody Vegetation: Implications for Restoration
Forests 2020, 11(3), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11030269 - 28 Feb 2020
Abstract
Resprouting is an important trait that allows plants to persist after fire and is considered a key functional trait in woody plants. While resprouting is well documented in fire-prone biomes, information is scarce in non-fire-prone ecosystems, such as New Zealand (NZ) forests. Our [...] Read more.
Resprouting is an important trait that allows plants to persist after fire and is considered a key functional trait in woody plants. While resprouting is well documented in fire-prone biomes, information is scarce in non-fire-prone ecosystems, such as New Zealand (NZ) forests. Our objective was to investigate patterns of post-fire resprouting in NZ by identifying the ability of species to resprout and quantifying the resprouting rates within the local plant community. Fire occurrence is likely to increase in NZ as a consequence of climate change, and this investigation addresses an important knowledge gap needed for planning restoration actions in fire-susceptible regions. The study was conducted in two phases: (1) A detailed review of the resprouting ability of the NZ woody flora, and (2) a field study where the post-fire responses of plants were quantified. The field study was undertaken in the eastern South Island, where woody plants (>5 cm diameter at 30 cm height) were sampled in 10 plots (10x10 m), five- and 10-months post-fire. The research synthesized the resprouting ability of 73 woody species and is the first to provide extensive quantitative data on resprouting in NZ. Most of the canopy dominant species were non-resprouters, but many smaller trees and shrubs were capable of resprouting, despite their evolution in an environment with low fire frequency. Species composition and abundance were important predictors of resprouting patterns among plots, with similar communities resulting in similar resprouting responses. Resprouting capacity provides species with a competitive advantage in the post-fire recovery. We suggest that it is possible to engineer more fire resilient restoration plantings by planting higher proportions of the resprouters identified in this study. The incorporation of resprouting as a trait in restoration plans is likely to be relevant not just in NZ, but also in other non-fire-prone regions facing increases in fire frequency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Post-Fire Regeneration)
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Open AccessCommunication
Some Lessons Learned on Early Survival and Growth of Containerized, Locally-Sourced Ponderosa Pine Seedlings in the Davis Mountains of Western Texas, US
Forests 2019, 10(3), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10030267 - 16 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The ponderosa pine forests in the Davis Mountains of western Texas recently experienced a major mortality event caused, in part, by an extended regional drought that predisposed trees and stands to mortality from both western pine beetle and wildfires. The loss of many [...] Read more.
The ponderosa pine forests in the Davis Mountains of western Texas recently experienced a major mortality event caused, in part, by an extended regional drought that predisposed trees and stands to mortality from both western pine beetle and wildfires. The loss of many overstory pines and the scarcity of natural ponderosa pine regeneration pose a considerable challenge to restoration. A commissioned study investigated artificial regeneration using containerized ponderosa pine seedlings with multiple planting seasons and vegetation management alternatives. Early survival was statistically greater for dormant season plantings than monsoon season plantings. Vegetation management treatments influenced early growth, survival, and herbivory rates. Physical weed control, which consisted of fibrous weed mats around the base of planted seedlings, showed early advantages over some vegetation management treatments in growth, survival and herbivory deterrence, but all vegetation management treatments had similar survival and herbivory results after 2.5 years. Early survival was poor in all treatments, mainly due to herbivory, which was identified as the principal short-term obstacle to artificial regeneration of ponderosa pine in the Davis Mountains. The larger question regarding feasibility of recovery in this isolated population, particularly if local climatic conditions become increasingly unfavorable, remains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Post-Fire Regeneration)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Herbaceous Layer Interference on the Post-Fire Regeneration of a Serotinous Pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) across Two Seedling Ages
Forests 2019, 10(1), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010074 - 20 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Herbaceous vegetation is a major source of interference with the regeneration of woody species. This is particularly the case after forest fires, as a dense herbaceous layer usually regenerates naturally. Although the competitive effect of the herbaceous vegetation upon tree seedlings has been [...] Read more.
Herbaceous vegetation is a major source of interference with the regeneration of woody species. This is particularly the case after forest fires, as a dense herbaceous layer usually regenerates naturally. Although the competitive effect of the herbaceous vegetation upon tree seedlings has been widely studied, there are still gaps in knowledge for management related to the effect of tree seedling age and size on the outcome of the interaction. In this study, we seek to determine the response of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) seedlings to herbaceous competition at two different seedling ages. For that, two treatments of herbaceous competition were implemented, namely unweeded (no action around pine seedlings) and weeded (herbaceous cover removed around pine seedlings). Treatments were conducted twice (2 and 4 years after the fire), and we monitored seedling survival and growth at the end of each growing season. The treatments were implemented across three adjacent landscape units that differed in the management of burned wood and that are representative of common post-fire scenarios: no intervention, salvage logging, and an intermediate degree of intervention. Weeding increased seedling survival from 44.7% to 67.8% when seedlings were 2 years old, but had no effect for four-year-old seedlings, which showed 99% survival. Seedling growth also increased in the weeding treatment, but only slightly. Moreover, growth (and survival for two-year-old seedlings) was strongly correlated with initial seedling size, particularly in the case of two-year-old seedlings. Initial pine seedling height was strongly and positively correlated with the height of the herbaceous layer, supporting the existence of microsite features that promote plant growth above competitive effects. The results support that management actions conducive to foster post-fire pine forest restoration in this Mediterranean ecosystem should reduce herbaceous competition at early stages after fire (second or third year) and focus on larger seedlings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Post-Fire Regeneration)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Composite Burn Index and Land Surface Temperature for Assessing Soil Burn Severity in Mediterranean Fire-Prone Pine Ecosystems
Forests 2018, 9(8), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9080494 - 13 Aug 2018
Cited by 11
Abstract
We analysed the relationship between burn severity indicators, from remote sensing and field observations, and soil properties after a wildfire in a fire-prone Mediterranean ecosystem. Our study area was a large wildfire in a Pinus pinaster forest. Burn severity from remote sensing was [...] Read more.
We analysed the relationship between burn severity indicators, from remote sensing and field observations, and soil properties after a wildfire in a fire-prone Mediterranean ecosystem. Our study area was a large wildfire in a Pinus pinaster forest. Burn severity from remote sensing was identified by studying immediate post-fire Land Surface Temperature (LST). We also evaluated burn severity in the field applying the Composite Burn Index (CBI) in a total of 84 plots (30 m diameter). In each plot we evaluated litter consumption, ash colour and char depth as visual indicators. We collected soil samples and pH, soil organic carbon, dry aggregate size distribution (MWD), aggregate stability and water repellency were analysed. A controlled heating of soil was also carried out in the laboratory, with soil from the control plots, to compare with the changes produced in soils affected by different severity levels in the field. Our results shown that changes in soil properties affected by wildfire were only observed in soil aggregation in the high severity situation. The laboratory-controlled heating showed that temperatures of about 300 °C result in a significant reduction in soil organic carbon and MWD. Furthermore, soil organic carbon showed a significant decrease when LST values increased. Char depth was the best visual indicator to show changes in soil properties (mainly physical properties) in large fires that occur in Mediterranean pine forests. We conclude that CBI and post-fire LST can be considered good indicators of soil burn severity since both indicate the impact of fire on soil properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Post-Fire Regeneration)
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