Short-term effects of prescribed burning on litterfall biomass in mixed stands of Pinus nigra and Pinus pinaster and pure stands of Pinus nigra in the Cuenca Mountains (Central-Eastern Spain)

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Espinosa, J.; Madrigal, J.; De la Cruz, A.C.; Guijarro, M.; Jiménez, E.; Hernando, C. (2018) - Short-term effects of prescribed burning on litterfall biomass in mixed stands of Pinus nigra and Pinus pinaster and pure stands of Pinus nigra in the Cuenca Mountains (Central-Eastern Spain) - Science of the Total Environment

Fire severity, defined as the magnitude of fire effects in an ecosystem, is a key factor to consider in planning management strategies for protecting forests against fire. Although prescribed burning has been used as a fuel reduction tool in forest ecosystems, it is quite limited in the Mediterranean region. Furthermore, little is known about how tree crowns are affected by prescribed underburning aimed at reducing fire severity in conifer stands. As part of an ongoing study to assess the effects of prescribed burning on the tree canopy, litterfall is currently being monitored in a network of experimental plots located in mixed (Pinus nigra and Pinus pinaster) and pure (P. nigra) conifer stands in the Cuenca Mountains (Castilla La Mancha, Spain). A total of 12 study plots (30 m × 30 m) were established in a completely randomized experimental design to determine the effect of burning, with 2 treatments: no burning (control) and burning (i.e. with three replicate plots for each treatment and site). Burning was conducted in May 2016. In each plot, 8 litterfall collectors were installed at regular intervals, according to international protocols (ICP Forests), and all biomass falling into the collectors is being monitored monthly. The specific objective of this study is to assess how prescribed burning affects the rate of generation of foliar and non-foliar litterfall biomass due to the fire. In addition, the Leaf Area Index was estimated before burning and one year later to verify possible changes in the structure of the stands. This information could be used to help minimize the negative impacts of prescribed underburning on litterfall. To our knowledge, this study represents the first attempt to evaluate the effect of prescribed burning on litterfall biomass in Europe.

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SCI: 
SI
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Volumen: 
618
Página Inicial: 
941
Página Final: 
951

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