Plant Ecology

, Volume 192, Issue 1, pp 1–19 | Cite as

The challenge of plant regeneration after fire in the Mediterranean Basin: scientific gaps in our knowledge on plant strategies and evolution of traits

  • Constanze BuhkEmail author
  • Andrea Meyn
  • Anke Jentsch


Though observations on re-colonisation of post-fire sites in the Mediterranean Basin are plentiful, there still is an ongoing debate on the interrelation of fire regimes and species traits related to fire adaptation. Most of the studies found are restricted to particular species or claim to present community attributes. Therefore they often lack information for the evaluation of evolutionary evidence and historical contingency of the local fire regime and other abiotic conditions, which may act as selective pressure for plant regeneration strategies. Indeed, knowledge about the success of regeneration mechanisms and their interrelation with ecological factors is essential for the interpretation of the high spatio-temporal variability found in post-fire species performance. Such knowledge would be necessary to assess the potential of different regeneration mechanisms to cope with ongoing land-use and climate change—a crucial scientific challenge.

A summary is given of the knowledge about the limits and potential of plant regeneration mechanisms after fire in the Mediterranean Basin, along with corresponding studies conducted in other parts of the world with similar climatic conditions in order to present the fullest possible picture. Moreover, the positive or negative impacts of particular parameters of a fire regime on different regeneration strategies (post-fire seeders, resprouters, and facultative resprouters) are explained and discussed in the light of published literature. To conclude, reference is made to scientific gaps that need to be filled in order to analyse species resistance and community resilience absorbing possible climate or land use changes.


Adaptive trait Disturbance history Evolution Facultative resprouter Pyrophytic Resilience Resprouter Seeder 



We would like to express our cordial thanks to Prof. Dr. Jon Keeley (USGS, California) and two anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GeobotanyUniversity of TrierTrierGermany
  2. 2.Disturbance Ecology and Vegetation Dynamics, Department of Conservation BiologyCentre for Environmental Research Leipzig-HalleLeipzigGermany

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