Espelta JM, Barbati A, Quevedo L, Tárrega R, Navascués P, Bonfil C, Peguero G, Fernández-Martínez M, Rodrigo A (2012) Post-Fire Management of Mediterranean Broadleaved Forests In: Moreira F, Arianoutsou M, Corona P & De las Heras J eds, Post-fire management and restoration of southern European forests. Managing Forest Ecosystems Series, Vol. 24. Springer, ISBN 978-94-007-2207-1. pp. 171-194.
Puerta-Piñero C., Espelta J.M., Sánchez-Humanes B., Rodrigo A., Coll L., Brotons L. (2012) History matters: Previous land use changes determine post-fire vegetation recovery in forested Mediterranean landscapes. Forest Ecology and Management. 279: 121-127.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2012.05.020
Land use changes and shifts in disturbance regimes (e.g. wildfires) are recognized worldwide as two of the major drivers of the current global change in terrestrial ecosystems. We expect that, in areas with large-scale land use changes, legacies from previous land uses persist and affect current ecosystem responses to climate-associated disturbances like fire. This study analyses whether post-fire vegetation dynamics may differ according to specific historical land use histories in a Mediterranean forest landscape of about 60,000. ha that was burnt by extensive fires. For that, we assessed land use history of the whole area through the second half of the XXth century, and evaluated the post-fire regeneration success in terms of: (i) forest cover and (ii) tree species composition (biotic-dispersed, resprouter species, Quercus spp. vs. wind-dispersed species with or without fire-resistant seed bank, Pinus spp.). Results showed that stable forest areas exhibited a higher post-fire recovery than younger forests. Furthermore, the longer since crop abandonment translates into a faster post-fire recovery. Results highlight that to anticipate the impacts of disturbances on ecosystems, historical land trajectories should be taken into account. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Espelta J.M., Arnan X., Rodrigo A. (2011) Non-fire induced seed release ina weakly serotinous pine: Climatic factors, maintenance costs or both?. Oikos. 120: 1752-1760.LinkDoi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.19570.x
The advantages of canopy seed retention (serotiny) for plants inhabiting fire-prone ecosystems are well documented. However, very few species are completely serotinous and non-fire induced opening of serotinous fruits is commonly observed (weak serotiny). Two non-mutually exclusive causes are envisaged to contribute to this process: mechanical changes in serotinous fruits mediated by climatic conditions (e.g. drought) or the costs of maintenance for the plant of these long-lasting structures. However, their relative contribution to the spontaneous opening of serotinous fruits remains elusive as well as the consequences for the build-up of the canopy seed bank and inter-individual differences in serotiny. In this study we monitored the dynamics of cone production and cone opening in the weakly serotinous Pinus halepensis for five years (2004-2008), including two severe drought episodes (2005, 2006). Drought decreased the production of conelets, increased the abortion of immature cones, reduced the seed quality in the cohorts of cones produced during these years, and increased the opening of serotinous cones. During the first drought episode, a higher proportion of serotinous cones opened in those pines bearing a larger crop of younger cones. This suggests that not only passive changes induced by drought but also competition among cones for resources (e.g. water) might be involved in this process. The opening of serotinous cones in pines bearing more cones made inter-individual differences in the size of the canopy cone bank to narrow or even to reverse from 2004 to 2008. These results may help to understand the decrease in serotiny when pines grow and accumulate more cones and the large inter-individual variability in the degree of serotiny observed in P. halepensis forests. In addition, the negative effects of drought episodes for the size of the canopy cone bank and the seeds contained can be an unexplored cause of post-fire regeneration constraint. © 2011 The Authors.
Paula S., Arianoutsou M., Kazanis D., Tavsanoglu Ç., Lloret F., Buhk C., Ojeda F., Luna B., Moreno J.M., Rodrigo A., Espelta J.M., Palacio S., Fernández-Santos B., Fernandes P.M., Pausas J.G. (2009) Fire-related traits for plant species of the Mediterranean Basin. Ecology. 90: 1420-0.LinkDoi: 10.1890/08-1309.1
Plant trait information is essential for understanding plant evolution, vegetation dynamics, and vegetation responses to disturbance and management. Furthermore, in Mediterranean ecosystems, changes in fire regime may be more relevant than direct changes in climatic conditions, making the knowledge of fire-related traits especially important. Thus the purpose of this data set was to compile the most updated and comprehensive information on fire-related traits for vascular plant species of the Mediterranean Basin, that is, traits related to plant persistence and regeneration after fire. Data were collected from an extensive literature review and from field and experimental observations. The data source is documented for each value. Since life history traits may vary spatially or with environmental conditions, we did not aggregate them by species; i.e., traits and species are repeated in different records if they were observed by different researchers and/or in different locations. Life history traits included in the data set are: life form, resprouting ability (after fire, after clipping, or after other disturbances that remove all the aboveground biomass), resprouting bud source, heat-stimulated germination, other germination cues, seed bank location and longevity, post-fire seedling emergence and survival, maturity age of resprouts and saplings, and seed mass. Several traits are unknown for many species; consequently, the data set reflects the state of the knowledge on the topic. However, since the ability to resprout is a trait of paramount relevance in fire-prone environments, it was considered a core trait in the data set, and thus species whose resprouting capacity was unknown were not included. Life form is also provided for all taxa. The structure of the database allows different levels of information (and accuracy) for each entry, and thus some traits may include different types of data (quantitative, semi-quantitative, or categorical) from different sources. The data set is structured in 8263 records and 11 columns, obtained from 301 published and unpublished sources of information. It includes 952 taxa determined at specific or infraspecific level, which comprise 859 species, 384 genera, and 79 families. Although this is the most comprehensive data set of fire-relevant plant traits for Mediterranean species, there is still a considerable need for observations and experiments, especially in little-studied Mediterranean areas, such as northern Africa. © 2009 by the Ecological Society of America.
Quevedo L., Rodrigo A., Espelta J.M. (2007) Post-fire resprouting ability of 15 non-dominant shrub and tree species in Mediterranean areas of NE Spain. Annals of Forest Science. 64: 883-890.LinkDoi: 10.1051/forest:2007070
Post-fire resprouting ability of the non-dominant tree and shrub species of the Mediterranean Basin has not yet been experimentally tested, although this group contributes to maintain the richness of Mediterranean plant communities. In this study, we have analyzed the post-fire recovery ability of 15 woody species that occur in relatively low abundance in dry and sub humid Mediterranean areas in NE of Spain. The main goals have been: (i) to determine experimentally the post-fire resprouting ability of these species and (ii) to compare the abundance of these species in areas affected by wildland fires and in unburned areas. We have observed a high resprouting ability after prescribed burning of most species except for Juniperus communis and J. phoenicea which showed a null resprouting. As the species with high resprouting ability showed similar presence in burned and unburned areas, we can conclude that wildfires are not a factor that constrains the presence of these species in Mediterranean woodlands. However, we found a reduction in the abundance of J. communis and J. phoenicea at the regional level after wildland fires. © INRA, EDP Sciences, 2007.
Espelta JM, Rodrigo A, Habrouk A, Meghelli N, Ordóñez JL, Retana J (2002) Land use changes, natural regeneration patterns, and restoration practices after a large wildfire in NE Spain: Challenges for fire ecology and landscape restoration In Trabaud L, Prodon R (eds) Fire and Biological Processes. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, pp. 315-324.
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