Mid-term successional patterns after fire of mixed pine-oak forests in NE Spain

Marc Gracia, Javier Retana, Pere Roig

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57 Citations (Scopus)


This study analyzes the factors affecting the current variability in density and age and size structure of mixed pine-oak forests of Pinus nigra and Quercus faginea in Central Catalonia (NE Spain), 37 years after a wildfire. The objective is to determine whether different post-disturbance responses may be obtained from the same pre-fire community and which factors can determine these different potential responses. The two factors analyzed were the distance to the unburned forest and site conditions (represented in this case by different aspects). The response of pines and oaks was different to the pattern expected for the Mediterranean Basin. Oaks resprouted immediately from stools already present before the fire and dominated during the first years, independent of both disturbance and site conditions. Pines established later, and their response depended on both factors: pine density decreased sharply from the forest edge to the burned area, and the number of pines was also higher in the more mesic than in the more xeric conditions. The age structure analysis for pines and oaks in the different aspects also revealed site-dependent rates of succession manifested by initial differences in post-fire establishment. In mesic plots, the establishment of pines occurred quite early, while in xeric plots, pine recruitment was delayed several years. These different patterns of post-fire recovery have led to pine dominance in more mesic sites and codominance of pines and oaks in more xeric ones, suggesting that different mid-term post-fire patterns can be identified for the same pre-fire forest type, depending on variations in environmental conditions. © 2002 Éditions scientifiques et médicales Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-411
JournalActa Oecologica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002


  • Age structure
  • Oak
  • Pine
  • Post-fire; Mid-term dynamics
  • Size structure
  • Succession


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