An economic and ecological multi-criteria evaluation of reforestation methods to recover burned Pinus nigra forests in NE Spain

Josep Maria Espelta, Javier Retana, Abdessamad Habrouk

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60 Citations (Scopus)


Recurrence of recent large wildfires is threatening the permanence of Pinus nigra Arnold (Black pine) forests in central Catalonia (NE Spain), due to the almost nil post-fire regeneration of this non-serotinous pine. Potential practices to carry out extensive reforestation programs with P. nigra may differ widely in terms of their final success, economic cost and undesired ecological impact. In this framework, we have analysed different types of vegetation clearing (mechanical, controlled burning or grazing), soil preparation (ripping or planting holes) and reforestation methods (broadcast seeding, spot seeding and planting) to restore P. nigra forests. We have compared these practices in terms of seedling establishment, but also in the light of their economic costs and ecological impact, through a new multi-criteria analysis. Seedling establishment after sowing was very poor and not influenced by vegetation clearing. In plantations, seedling survival was higher in the ripper treatment than in planting holes for all vegetation clearing treatments except the control one. Nevertheless, the higher economic cost of the planting holes treatment and the negative impact of mechanical clearing and burning on the small mammals community made the stated differences in seedling survival irrelevant. Thus, the multi-criteria analysis revealed that the two most preferred options were planting in uncleared or lightly grazed areas with soil preparation through ripping. This study gives some valuable insights about the use of new decision-support tools in restoration programs and provides practical guidelines concerning the restoration of extensive burned P. nigra forests. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-198
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2003


  • Decision-support tools
  • Pinus nigra
  • Planting
  • Post-fire restoration
  • Seeding


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