Plant Ecology

, Volume 180, Issue 2, pp 175–185

Recovery after Experimental Cutting and Burning in Three Shrub Communities with Different Dominant Species

  • L. Calvo
  • R. Tárrega
  • E. Luis
  • L. Valbuena
  • E. Marcos


The aim of this study is to compare the recovery dynamics in three shrub communities subjected to experimental burning and cutting, and situated on an altitudinal gradient. Climatic features are different in each area, but all had the common characteristic of very homogeneous vegetation cover before the disturbances, with only one shrub species clearly dominant, a different taxon in each area, and with different regeneration strategies. The first area was a heathland dominated by Calluna vulgaris, situated at an altitude of 1600 m, with a continental climate (mean annual precipitation 1320 mm). The second area was a heathland dominated by Erica australis, located at an altitude of 1000 m (mean annual precipitation 840 mm). The third area was a Cistus ladanifer shrubland, located at 900 m altitude, with a Mediterranean climate similar to that of the previous area, but with lower mean annual precipitation (470 mm). Erica australis recovers by vegetative resprouting, but Cistus ladanifer is an obligate seeder, as is Calluna vulgaris in these areas. Each experimental disturbance was carried out over 100 m2 in each area. Post-fire recovery is faster in Cistus ladanifer: 2 years after burning there was 40% cover vs. less than 20% in the other two species. However, recovery after cutting was similar for Cistus ladanifer and Erica australis. Calluna vulgaris recovers very slowly, with cover values below 20% even 10 years after both disturbances. Cover of dominant shrub species is negatively correlated with cover of herbaceous species. So different recovery of dominant species lead a different community dynamic in each area.

Key words

Calluna vulgaris Cistus ladanifer Community recovery Disturbances Erica australis Shrublands 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Calvo
    • 1
  • R. Tárrega
    • 1
  • E. Luis
    • 1
  • L. Valbuena
    • 1
  • E. Marcos
    • 1
  1. 1.Area of Ecology, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of LeónLeónSpain

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