Predicting the recovery of Pinus halepensis and Quercus ilex forests after a large wildfire in northeastern Spain

Broncano M.J., Retana J., Rodrigo A. (2005) Predicting the recovery of Pinus halepensis and Quercus ilex forests after a large wildfire in northeastern Spain. Plant Ecology. 180: 47-56.
Enlace
Doi: 10.1007/s11258-005-0974-z

Resumen:

Quercus ilex and Pinus halepensis are two of the most common tree species of the western Mediterranean basin. Both species regenerate reliably after fire: P. halepensis colonizes recently disturbed areas by effective seedling recruitment, while Q. ilex resprouts vigorously after disturbances. For this reason, the natural regeneration of these species after fire should ensure the re-establishment of a forest similar to that which existed before the fire. This study analyzes with a simple simulation model whether or not the relative abundance of monospecific and mixed forests of these species in the landscape is altered by fire. We also analyze the topographic factors and the forest structure before the fire that determine the changes in forest composition after fire. This study has been carried out in a large fire that occurred in NE Spain. Overall, 33% of plots changed to another community type, but this probability of change varied considerably among community types before the fire. Monospecific forests of P. halepensis or Q. ilex had a high probability of remaining in their original composition after the fire, whereas the resilience of mixed forests of these two species was quite low. Mixed forests changed for the most part to monospecific P. halepensis or Q. ilex forests. Analysis of several factors determining these changes indicated that only elevation as a significant topographical variable. The effect of fire was to increase the altitudinal differentiation between the two species. P. halepensis forests that changed to mixed or Q. ilex forests were those of highest elevation, while the mixed and Q. ilex plots that changed to P. halepensis forests were those located at the lowest elevations. Concerning structural variables before fire, density of Q. ilex trees before the fire showed a much greater effect than P. halepensis density in determining the post-fire community. Finally, burn severity also influenced the changes observed. For both P. halepensis and Q. ilex forests, plots that changed to another forest type were mainly those that burned more severely. In the case of mixed forests, even low fire severities involved high probabilities of change to monospecific forests. © Springer 2005.

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Differences in biomass partitioning, leaf nitrogen content, and water use efficiency (δ13C) result in similar performance of seedlings of two Mediterranean oaks with contrasting leaf habit

Espelta J.M., Cortés P., Mangirón M., Retana J. (2005) Differences in biomass partitioning, leaf nitrogen content, and water use efficiency (δ13C) result in similar performance of seedlings of two Mediterranean oaks with contrasting leaf habit. Ecoscience. 12: 447-454.
Enlace
Doi: 10.2980/i1195-6860-12-4-447.1

Resumen:

Co-occurrence of winter-deciduous and evergreen oaks is common in some Mediterranean-type climate areas. However, whether these species show an overlap in their regeneration niche is still poorly understood. We explored experimentally the changes in survival, growth, biomass partitioning, leaf nitrogen content, and water use efficiency (δ 13C) in seedlings of a deciduous oak (Quercus cerrioides) and an evergreen oak (Quercus ilex) in response to co-variation in light and water availability. Quercus cerrioides exhibited higher root length, root area, leaf nitrogen content, and less negative δ13C, but lower leafiness than Q. ilex. The interaction between species and light in specific leaf area and root-shoot ratio indicated different mechanisms to overcome water stress in the two oaks, with Q. ilex relying on leaf hardening and Q. cerrioides relying on a high root-shoot ratio. However, the two species showed similar survival and growth in most of the light-water gradient. Ecological inference of these results indicates that seedlings of these species have a similar ability to cope with variations in light and water in spite of their contrasting leaf habit. This similar performance suggests a competition for similar micro-sites during establishment, rather than a partitioning of the regeneration niche.

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Effects of tree size, crown damage, and tree location on post-fire survival and cone production of Pinus nigra trees. Forest

Ordóñez JL, Retana J, Espelta JM (2005) Effects of tree size, crown damage, and tree location on post-fire survival and cone production of Pinus nigra trees. Forest Ecology and Management 206: 109-117.

A quantitative comparison of methods for classifying burned areas with LISS-III imagery

Román-Cuesta R.M., Retana J., Gracia M., Rodríguez R. (2005) A quantitative comparison of methods for classifying burned areas with LISS-III imagery. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 26: 1979-2003.
Enlace
Doi: 10.1080/01431160512331299315

Resumen:

Environmental agencies frequently require tools for quick assessments of areas affected by large fires. Remote sensing techniques have been reported as efficient tools to evaluate the effects of fire. However, there exist few quantitative comparisons about the performance of the diverse methods. This study quantitatively evaluated the accuracy of five different techniques, a field survey and four satellite-based techniques, in order to quickly classify a large forest fire that occurred in 1998 in Solsonès (north-east Spain) by means of an IRS LISS-III image. Three pure classes were determined: burned area, unburned vegetation, and bare soil; along with a non-pure class that we called mixed area. These selected techniques were included into a tree classifier to investigate their partial contribution to the final classification. The most accurate methods when focusing on pure classes were those directly related to the spectral characteristics of the pixel: Reflectance Data and Spectral Unmixing (82% of overall accuracy), versus the poorer performances of Vegetation Indices (70%), Textural measures (72%) and the field survey (68.6%). Since no image processing technique was applied to the Raw Reflectance Data, it can be considered the most cost-effective method, and the tree classifier reinforces its importance. The results of this study reveal that time consuming and expensive methods are not necessarily the most accurate, especially when potentially easily distinguishable classes are involved. © 2005 Taylor & Francis Group Ltd.

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