Oliveras I., Malhi Y., Salinas N., Huaman V., Urquiaga-Flores E., Kala-Mamani J., Quintano-Loaiza J.A., Cuba-Torres I., Lizarraga-Morales N., Roman-Cuesta R.-M. (2014) Changes in forest structure and composition after fire in tropical montane cloud forests near the Andean treeline. Plant Ecology and Diversity. 7: 329-340.EnllaçDoi: 10.1080/17550874.2013.816800
Background: In tropical montane cloud forests (TMCFs) fires can be a frequent source of disturbance near the treeline. Aims: To identify how forest structure and tree species composition change in response to fire and to identify fire-tolerant species, and determine which traits or characteristics are associated with fire tolerance. Methods: Shifts in forest structure and diversity were assessed on 15 paired plots in burnt and unburnt (control) forests, along a fire chronosequence. Species were classified as fire-sensitive, fire survivors or fire thrivers, using a fire tolerance index. Regression and tree analyses were used to determine which traits contributed to the fire tolerance of species. Results: There were more small- and medium-sized trees in the burnt plots independent of time since the last fire. There were shifts in family importance value and in species diversity among the plots. Of the 73 species analysed there were 39 fire-sensitive species, 19 fire survivors and 14 fire thrivers. Sprouting ability and biomass showed a positive relationship with the fire tolerance of species. Conclusions: There were immediate as well as long-term (up to 15 years) effects of fire on forest structure and species composition, suggesting that TMCFs take more than 15 years to regenerate from a fire. Long-term studies are needed to fully understand regeneration patterns of TMCFs after fires. © 2014 Copyright 2013 Botanical Society of Scotland and Taylor & Francis.
Roman-Cuesta R.M., Carmona-Moreno C., Lizcano G., New M., Silman M., Knoke T., Malhi Y., Oliveras I., Asbjornsen H., Vuille M. (2014) Synchronous fire activity in the tropical high Andes: An indication of regional climate forcing. Global Change Biology. 20: 1929-1942.EnllaçDoi: 10.1111/gcb.12538
Global climate models suggest enhanced warming of the tropical mid and upper troposphere, with larger temperature rise rates at higher elevations. Changes in fire activity are amongst the most significant ecological consequences of rising temperatures and changing hydrological properties in mountainous ecosystems, and there is a global evidence of increased fire activity with elevation. Whilst fire research has become popular in the tropical lowlands, much less is known of the tropical high Andean region (>2000masl, from Colombia to Bolivia). This study examines fire trends in the high Andes for three ecosystems, the Puna, the Paramo and the Yungas, for the period 1982-2006. We pose three questions: (i) is there an increased fire response with elevation? (ii) does the El Niño- Southern Oscillation control fire activity in this region? (iii) are the observed fire trends human driven (e.g., human practices and their effects on fuel build-up) or climate driven? We did not find evidence of increased fire activity with elevation but, instead, a quasicyclic and synchronous fire response in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, suggesting the influence of high-frequency climate forcing on fire responses on a subcontinental scale, in the high Andes. ENSO variability did not show a significant relation to fire activity for these three countries, partly because ENSO variability did not significantly relate to precipitation extremes, although it strongly did to temperature extremes. Whilst ENSO did not individually lead the observed regional fire trends, our results suggest a climate influence on fire activity, mainly through a sawtooth pattern of precipitation (increased rainfall before fire-peak seasons (t-1) followed by drought spells and unusual low temperatures (t0), which is particularly common where fire is carried by low fuel loads (e.g., grasslands and fine fuel). This climatic sawtooth appeared as the main driver of fire trends, above local human influences and fuel build-up cyclicity. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Roman-Cuesta R.M., Rejalaga-Noguera L., Pinto-Garcia C., Retana J. (2014) Pacific and Atlantic oceanic anomalies and their interaction with rainfall and fire in Bolivian biomes for the period 1992–2012. Climatic Change. : 0-0.EnllaçDoi: 10.1007/s10584-014-1246-5
Bolivia is located at the crossroad of the major climatic influences of Northern and Southern-South America, which turns this country into a natural laboratory to investigate the interactions between ocean-climate and fire variability. We chose two oceanic indices: MEI (multivariate ENSO Index) and AMO (Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation) to select the three most representative years for four oceanic conditions: El Niño, La Niña, AMO, and standard years (understood as years with little ocean influences), for the period 1992–2012. We investigated how i) rainfall (dry vs wet seasons) and ii) fire responded in five Bolivian biomes (Tropical Moist Forests, Tropical Dry Forests, Tropical Grasslands, Tropical Montane, and Seasonally Flooded ecosystems) under these oceanic conditions. Bolivia showed a strong rainfall increase in El Niño years in both seasons (wet/dry), while AMO showed the strongest droughts in both seasons. La Niña showed a bipolar response with rainfall increases in the wet season and a very marked rainfall decrease in the dry season. Drought significantly increased fire numbers in AMO years, being the most significant fire condition and suggesting a larger fire influence of the Atlantic than the Pacific at the national level. Surprisingly, the amount of fire was very large under normal years (STD) and similar to fire levels under La Niña, suggesting generalized fire conditions in the country, except for El Niño years that bring rainfall excess and little fire. The most fire-affected biomes were the seasonally flooded and dry forests, followed by the grassland/savannah biome. Montane areas showed the least fire, but satellite fire omission is well known in the Andean region.
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