Spatial and temporal patterns of plant functional types under simulated fire regimes

Juli G. Pausas, F. Lloret

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36 Citations (Scopus)


In spite of enormous fire suppression advances in Mediterranean countries, large high-intensity fires are still common. The effects on vegetation structure and composition of fire and fire regime changes at large spatial and temporal scales are poorly known, and landscape simulation models may throw some light in this regard. Thus, we studied how the abundance, richness, and spatial distribution of the different plant types are sensitive to the frequency, extent and spatial distribution of wildfires, using a landscape simulation model (FATELAND). We simulated the dynamics of 10 plant functional types (PFTs) defined as combinations of post-fire persistence strategies and life forms, under the following fire scenarios: No Fire, Suppressed (one large fire every 20 years), Prescribed (small fuel reductions every year), Unmanaged-1 (two small fires every year) and Unmanaged-2 (four small fires every year). The results suggest that the different fire regimes generate different spatial fire-recurrence patterns and changes in the proportion of the dominant species. For instance, with increasing fire recurrence, seeder shrubs (i.e. those recruiting new individuals after fire from persisting seed bank) with early reproduction increased and seeder trees decreased, while little variation was found for resprouters. Fire also increased the spatial aggregation of plants, while PFT richness decreased with increasing fire recurrence. The results suggest patterns of changes similar to those reported in field studies, and thus they provide consistent hypotheses on the possible vegetation changes due to different fire scenarios. © IAWF 2007.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-492
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2007


  • FATE model
  • Landscape model
  • Mediterranean
  • Resprouter
  • Seeder
  • Simulation
  • Vegetation dynamics


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