Forest fire occurrence increases the distribution of a scarce forest type in the Mediterranean Basin

Xavier Arnan, Lídia Quevedo, Anselm Rodrigo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Here we report how fire recurrence increases the distribution of a scarce forest type in NE Spain that is dominated by the resprouter tree species Arbutus unedo. We used a combination of GIS and field surveys to determine the effect of fire and pre-fire vegetation on the appearance of A. unedo forests. In the field, we also analyzed the factors that promote fire and lead to the appearance of A. unedo forests. Our results reveal an increased occurrence of A. unedo forests in NE Spain in recent years; this phenomenon was strongly related to fire recurrence and the vegetation type present prior to fire. Most Pinus halepensis forests that burned more than once gave rise to A. unedo forests. Our results indicate that these conversions were related to a reduction in pine density coupled with increases in the density and size of A. unedo trees due to recurrent fires. Given that fires are increasing in number and magnitude in the Mediterranean, we predict a major change in landscape structure and composition at the regional scale. © 2012 Elsevier Masson SAS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-47
JournalActa Oecologica
Volume46
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Keywords

  • Arbutus unedo
  • Forest dominance
  • GIS analysis
  • Mediterranean
  • Pinus halepensis
  • Wildfires

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