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Post Wildfire Management: Erosion and Land Degradation Control, Soil Restoration, and Vegetation Cover Recovery

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability, Biodiversity and Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2022) | Viewed by 10595

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Communication and Society Research Centre, Department of Geography, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
Interests: physical geography; forest fires; soil erosion and land degradation; natural hazards
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Geography, University of Minho, Campus de Azurém, 4810-058 Guimarães, Portugal
Interests: geographic information systems and remote sensing and their application to land use planning; geomorphology; geomorphological heritage; erosive processes following forest fires and mitigation measures
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Geography and Regional Planning, FCSH, New University of Lisbon, 1069-061 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: desertification; land degradation; soil erosion; natural hazards; climate change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fire is an important Earth system process and the primary terrestrial ecosystem disturbance agent on a global scale, and it depends on vegetation characteristics, climate, and human activities. This phenomenon generates feedbacks by affecting biogeochemical cycles, vegetation composition and structure, land–atmosphere, water and heat exchanges, atmospheric chemistry and composition, and human health and property (Li et al., 2013, 2014).

The broad impact of a wildfire disturbance depends on the intensity or severity of the fire, its spatial distribution and extent, and the history and resilience of the site (Neary et al., 2005).

The extent and degree of the soil and vegetation disturbance by wildfire may have serious ecological implications for hydrologic and biological processes for years (Robichaud et al., 2020).

The increased frequency, magnitude, and extent of wildfires, over the past few decades, have become a major societal and environmental concern across the world. These concerns are further aggravated by the likely future climate conditions, increasingly propitious to wildfire ignition and spread (Bento-Gonçalves et al., 2013), where wildfires burn at high severity, and where erosion, runoff, and sedimentation may be triggered by high intensity post-fire rain events (Jonas et al., 2019).

Therefore, post-fire treatments to limit the potential for soil erosion are increasingly important given that the extensive area burned in recent decades is predicted to increase while human values at risk grow, and vegetation management becomes more challenging in the face of climate change (Jonas et al., 2019).

Thus, the present Special Issue of Sustainability intends to outline different approaches regarding post-wildfire management, showing the different perspectives and challenges we face in the 21st century.

As this is a crucial issue for sustainable development, strongly threatened by global changes, and since the production of literature today is fast and dispersed by countless theses, books, and articles, a Special Issue may gather the most recent results obtained in research in different regions around the globe.

This Special Issue aims to cover, without being limited to, the following areas:

  • Wildfire impacts on soil and vegetation;
  • Soil erosion, land degradation after wildfires;
  • Short- and long-term post-fire vegetation recovery;
  • Soil erosion, land degradation analysis, after wildfires, based on remote sensing data, GIS, GPS, etc.;
  • Vegetation recovery analysis, after wildfires, based on remote sensing data, GIS, GPS, etc.;
  • Assessment of burned forest area severity and post-fire regrowth using remote sensing data;
  • Post-fire management practices;
  • Soil restoration.

Prof. António Bento-Gonçalves
Prof. António Vieira
Prof. Maria José Roxo
Guest Editors

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2400 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
  • recurrence, intensity, and severity
  • soil, soil erosion, land degradation
  • vegetation
  • vegetation recovery
  • post-wildfire management
  • geospatial technologies
  • global changes
  • land use/cover changes
  • soil regeneration

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 1285 KiB  
Article
Neutral Sugar Content and Composition as a Sensitive Indicator of Fire Severity in the Andisols of an Araucaria–Nothofagus Forest in Southern Chile
by Yessica Rivas, Jorge Retamal-Salgado, Heike Knicker, Francisco Matus and Diego Rivera
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12061; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112061 - 1 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2313
Abstract
Wildfire induces soil alterations that have a long-term impact on soil organic matter (SOM) quality. We postulated that after different fire severities, the neutral sugars in soils can be used as an indicator of soil organic matter quality after fire. The aim of [...] Read more.
Wildfire induces soil alterations that have a long-term impact on soil organic matter (SOM) quality. We postulated that after different fire severities, the neutral sugars in soils can be used as an indicator of soil organic matter quality after fire. The aim of this study was to determine the contribution of neutral sugar, bulk and occluded particulate organic matter (oPOM) affected by wildfire, at different soil depths in an Araucaria–Nothofagus Forest, four years post-after fire. The concentration and composition of the neutral sugars in the soils clearly comprised the major fraction in the unburned soil. Medium- and high-severity fires caused a drastic reduction in soil sugars in the bulk soil as well as in the oPOM fractions. The 13C-CPMAS NMR spectroscopy analysis revealed a high contribution of recalcitrant carbon to the decomposition such as aryl–C and aryl–O derived from charred material, whereas the abundance of O–alkyl C and alkyl C functional groups were decreased. The neutral sugars (Galactose+Mannose/Xilose+Arabinose) revealed a major microbial origin in fire affected areas as the ratio was >2. Therefore. Therefore, we suggest that the neutral sugar content of soil should be used for monitoring both short- and long-term changes in SOM altered by fires. Full article
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15 pages, 4301 KiB  
Article
Root Characteristics and Water Erosion-Reducing Ability of Alpine Silver Grass and Yushan Cane for Alpine Grassland Soil Conservation
by Jung-Tai Lee, Shun-Ming Tsai, Yu-Jie Wu, Yu-Syuan Lin, Ming-Yang Chu and Ming-Jen Lee
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7633; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147633 - 8 Jul 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2097
Abstract
In Taiwan, intensive forest fires frequently cause serious forest degradation, soil erosion and impacts on alpine vegetation. Post-fire succession often induces the substitution of forest by alpine grassland. Alpine silver grass (Miscanthus transmorrisonensis Hay.) and Yushan cane (Yushania niitakayamensis (Hay.) Keng [...] Read more.
In Taiwan, intensive forest fires frequently cause serious forest degradation, soil erosion and impacts on alpine vegetation. Post-fire succession often induces the substitution of forest by alpine grassland. Alpine silver grass (Miscanthus transmorrisonensis Hay.) and Yushan cane (Yushania niitakayamensis (Hay.) Keng f.) are two main endemic species emerging on post-fire alpine grassland. These species play a major role in the recovery of alpine vegetation and soil conservation of alpine grassland. However, their root traits, root mechanical properties and water erosion-reducing ability have still not been well studied. In the present study, root characteristics were examined using a complete excavation method. Root mechanical characteristics were estimated by utilizing the uprooting test and root tensile test, and hydraulic flume experiments were performed to investigate the water erosion-reducing ability using 8-month-old plants. The results show that the root architecture system of Alpine silver grass belongs to fibrous root system, while the Yushan cane has sympodial-tufted rhizomes with a fibrous root system. Root characteristics reveal that relative to Alpine silver grass, Yushan cane has remarkably larger root collar diameter, higher root biomass, larger root volume, higher root density, and a higher root tissue density. Furthermore, uprooting resistance of Yushan cane is notably higher than that of Alpine silver grass. However, the root tensile strength of Alpine silver grass is significantly higher than that of Yushan cane. Additionally, hydraulic flume experiments reveal that Yushan cane has significantly lower soil detachment rates than that of Alpine silver grass. Collectively, these findings clearly show that Yushan cane has superior root characteristics and water erosion-reducing ability than Alpine silver grass and is thus more suitable for the conservation of alpine grassland. Full article
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16 pages, 6372 KiB  
Article
An Assessment of Forest Fires and CO2 Gross Primary Production from 1991 to 2019 in Mação (Portugal)
by Helena Maria Fernandez, Fernando M. Granja-Martins, Celestina M.G. Pedras, Patrícia Fernandes and Jorge M.G.P. Isidoro
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 5816; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115816 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2165
Abstract
Forest-fire rates have increased in Southern European landscapes. These fires damage forest ecosystems and alter their development. During the last few decades, an increase in fast-growing and highly fuel-bearing plant species such as bush, Eucalyptus globulus Labill., and Pinus pinaster Ait. has been [...] Read more.
Forest-fire rates have increased in Southern European landscapes. These fires damage forest ecosystems and alter their development. During the last few decades, an increase in fast-growing and highly fuel-bearing plant species such as bush, Eucalyptus globulus Labill., and Pinus pinaster Ait. has been observable in the interior of Portugal. This study aims to verify this assumption by the quantification of the biomass carbon sink in the forests of the Mação municipality. Maps of fire severity and forest biomass evolution after a wildfire event were produced for the period of 1991 to 2019. To quantify carbon retention in this region, this evolution was correlated with gross primary production (GPP) on the basis of satellite imagery from Landsat 5, Landsat 8, and MODIS MYD17A2H. Results show that wildfires in Mação increased in area and severity with each passing decade due to the large accumulation of biomass promoted by the abandonment of rural areas. Before the large fires of 2003, 2017, and 2019, carbon rates reached a daily maximum of 5.4, 5.3, and 4.7 gC/m2/day, respectively, showing a trend of forest-biomass accumulation in the Mação municipality. Full article
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13 pages, 3040 KiB  
Article
Effects of Fire on the Organic and Chemical Properties of Soil in a Pinus halepensis Mill. Forest in Rocallaura, NE Spain
by Miquel Àngel Xifré-Salvadó, Núria Prat-Guitart, Marcos Francos, Xavier Úbeda and Marc Castellnou
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5178; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095178 - 6 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2379
Abstract
The present study was conducted following a fire that took place in Rocallaura (NE Iberian Peninsula) in 23 June 2016 with the aim of analyzing the chemical properties of soil in burnt and unburnt areas in order to determine the short-term effects of [...] Read more.
The present study was conducted following a fire that took place in Rocallaura (NE Iberian Peninsula) in 23 June 2016 with the aim of analyzing the chemical properties of soil in burnt and unburnt areas in order to determine the short-term effects of fire on an ecosystem dominated by Pinus halepensis Mill. Transects were laid out in a control area and an adjacent burnt area. Laboratory analyses were performed to determine the chemical properties of the organic and mineral soil layers at 5 cm and 10 cm (total carbon, total nitrogen, organic and inorganic carbon, carbonates, pH, electrical conductivity, and major cations). The results show partial combustion of the organic substrate, with a significant increase in TC, OC, TN, EC and K+, and a slight decrease in pH in the post-fire area compared to the control area, demonstrating that the fire was of low intensity and did not generate significant short-term negative impacts on the soil. Soils of this type, with high organic matter content, tend to maintain their structure after a low-intensity fire and retain the nutrients necessary for ecosystem recovery and resilience. Full article
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