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Post-fire natural regeneration of a Pinus pinaster forest in NW Spain


The aim of this study was to analyse the regeneration of Pinus pinaster after wildfire and the possible inter and intraspecific competition during the first 3 years after fire. The study area is located in a P. pinaster stand in León province (NW Spain). Three study sites (S1, S2 and S3) were established in an area burned in 1998. In each site, three permanent plots (20 × 1 m) were marked. A total of 20 quadrats of 1 m 2 were studied in each plot. The number and height of pine seedlings 1, 2 and 3 years after fire was recorded in each quadrat. The regeneration of understorey vegetation in the quadrats was analysed concurrently. The significance of linear correlations among the number and height of seedlings and understorey vegetation cover was tested by calculating Pearson correlation coefficients.Seed germination and seedling emergence took place massively during the first year after the fire and decreased through time. The height growth was constant over the 3 years at site S2, while a growth burst could be observed between years 2 and 3 at sites S1 and S2. Also, pines from site S2 reached shorter maximum heights in all years compared to pines from site S1 and S3. The understorey vegetation showed minimal regeneration during the first year but then increased greatly with time. Woody understorey cover and total vegetation cover were negatively correlated with pine seedling density in sites with a high number of seedlings (e.g. S1 and S3). When woody cover, total cover and pine seedling density were low (e.g. S2), there were no correlations. There was a positive correlation between vegetation cover and the maximum height of Pinus seedlings in all study sites.

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The study was developed as part of project LE17/99 subsidised by the Regional Government of Castilla y León.

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Correspondence to Leonor Calvo.

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Calvo, L., Santalla, S., Valbuena, L. et al. Post-fire natural regeneration of a Pinus pinaster forest in NW Spain. Plant Ecol 197, 81–90 (2008).

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  • Wildfire
  • Maritime pine forest
  • Natural regeneration
  • Shrub species
  • Seedling density