Fire regenerative syndromes of forest woody species across fire and climatic gradients

Francisco Lloret, Helena Estevan, Jordi Vayreda, Jaume Terradas

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68 Citations (Scopus)


Community resilience after fire is determined by species' ability to regenerate through two main mechanisms growth of new sprouts (resprouter species) and germination from surviving seed banks or from seeds arriving from neighbouring populations (seeder species). Both the mechanisms are present in Mediterranean communities. The occurrence of both the types in a community depends on fire history and the bio-geographical history determining the available species pool. Regenerative traits also covary with other functional attributes associated with resource acquisition and stress tolerance. As post-fire regenerative responses can be related to various ecological factors other than fire, we tested the hypothesis of a different proportional representation of post-fire regenerative syndromes in forest woody species along a climatic gradient in Catalonia (NE Spain) ranging from Mediterranean to temperate-boreal climates. Specifically, we expected seeder species to become less common with colder and moister conditions while resprouters would not be so influenced by the climatic gradient. We also tested the hypothesis of change in the relative abundance of regenerative syndromes in relation to recent fire history. We analysed a large database obtained from extensive forestry surveys and remote sensing fire records. After correction for spatial autocorrelation, we found an increase in the proportion of seeder species under more Mediterranean conditions and a decrease in fire-sensitive species (with no efficient mechanisms of post-fire recovery) in moister conditions. Resprouter species were similarly present across the whole gradient. A similar pattern was observed after excluding recently burnt plots. Therefore, post-fire regenerative syndromes segregate along the climatic gradient. Recent fires reduced the occurrence of fire-sensitive species and increased the proportion of seeder species. No significant effect was observed on resprouter species. Fire has a sorting effect, shaping the occurrence of species with different regenerative traits. Overall, fire seems to explain better the variability of the proportion of fire-sensitive species and climate the variability of seeder species. In addition, other factors (forestry practices and the covariation between regenerative and functional attributes) are likely to contribute to the regional pattern of regenerative syndromes. © Springer-Verlag 2005.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-468
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005


  • Fire regime
  • Fire-sensitive species
  • Mediterranean forests
  • Resprouter species
  • Seeder species


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