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Effects of forest fires on forest ecosystems in eastern coastal areas of Korea and an overview of restoration projects

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Abstract

Recent large fires have highlighted the importance of understanding post-fire processes in forest ecosystems, in order to implement ecologically sound post-fire forest restoration practices. Restoration principles should be based on a thorough understanding and appropriate integration of the ecological, social, and economic factors associated with forest ecosystems. In Korea, forest fires mainly affect pine forests, which provide habitats for pine mushrooms, a major source of income for local residents. Curculionid beetles can easily attack fire-damaged trees because of the trees’ weakened defense mechanisms. On the other hand, fire accelerates the decomposition of organic matter and nutrient release, thereby improving forest productivity. Natural restoration after large fires depends on regeneration (e.g., from seeds and sprouts) of the remaining trees that have sustained less damage, until secondary forests are established. However, severely burned areas may require rapid artificial regeneration depending on the specific climatic (e.g., summer rainy season), geographic (e.g., shallow surface soil and land erosion), and economic (e.g., local mushroom harvesting) objectives. A restoration plan should include constructing fuel breaks to reduce the fire risk if the area is replanted mainly with pine species.

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Acknowledgments

This study received financial support from the Korea Forest Research Institute and Chonnam National University (2011).

Author information

Correspondence to Young Sang Ahn.

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Ahn, Y.S., Ryu, S., Lim, J. et al. Effects of forest fires on forest ecosystems in eastern coastal areas of Korea and an overview of restoration projects. Landscape Ecol Eng 10, 229–237 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11355-013-0212-0

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Keywords

  • Ecosystem management
  • Korea
  • Large burned area
  • Pine forest
  • Restoration principles