Comparative genet survival after fire in woody Mediterranean species

Luis López-Soria, Carles Castell

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75 Citations (Scopus)


Using data from three fires in northeastern Spain, we tested a condition necessary to support the idea that fire has been a factor in the evolution of the resprouting habit: populations of all resprouting species within a community should show high levels of genet survival after fires and show a low coefficient of variation. Species with high mean survival values were:Quercus ilex L., Phillyrea latifolia L., and Viburnum tinus L., with 88, 86 and 83% survival respectively; these groups had resprouts emerging from rootcrowns. Then followed Arbutus unedo L. (75%), Pistacia lentiscus L. (73%), Erica arborea L. (77%), Erica multiflora L. (57%) and Juniperus oxycedrus L. (55%). This last group had resprouts from lignotubers or burls. These two groups also differed in the variability around the mean: the first showed a lower coefficient of variation, 6-12, and the second ranged from 19 to 26. Slope exposure had no significant influence on the process of resprouting, but soil depth did, with precipitation as a covariate. In the shallow soil category, the difference in genet survival between southern and northern exposures was 14% (71% vs. 57%); while the difference in the deep soil category was low, 5% (87% vs. 82%). There was no significant interaction. The component of variance for soils was larger than that for species-specific effects; substantial overlap of the within-species variance indicated that species responded as if they were a single hypothetical population, in which most of the variation in chances of survival was due to the soil conditions. The possession of the resprouting habit did not ensure a high performance. Hence, we find weak support for fire as a factor in the evolution of the resprouting habit. © 1992 Springer-Verlag.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-499
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1992


  • Evolutionary convergence
  • Fire-adapted trait
  • Mediterranean climate
  • Regenerative types
  • Resilience


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