The fire ecology of European beech (. Fagus sylvatica L.) is poorly understood. We analyzed beech recruitment after a mast year in recently burnt and unburnt stands to answer to the questions: (i) Does post-fire mast seed production and recruitment in beech depend on fire severity, and (ii) which are the processes by which fire and the environment affect beech seed production, germination and seedling emergence and establishment in the first year after masting?We selected three beech stands in the Southwestern Alps, burnt in either the winter of 2012 or 2013 but before the 2013 beech mast year. In the summer of 2013, at each stand, we established 30 sampling plots stratified by fire severity based on the percent basal area loss of beech (low; intermediate; high). Another 10 plots per stand were assigned to a control (unburnt) group. In the spring of 2014, we counted cupules, seeds, germinated seeds, and emergent seedlings (i.e., rooted in mineral soil) in four squares (0.4. ×. 0.4. m) at each plot. In the summer of 2014, at each plot, we measured stand characteristics (i.e., a circular area of 12-m in a planar radius) and counted established seedlings in 12 squares (1. ×. 1. m).Control stands had 448±38cupulesm-2 and 489±44seedsm-2 with a germination rate of 11%. In comparison to the control, production of cupules and seeds was significantly lower only under high fire severity (-75% and -63%, respectively). At intermediate and low severity sites, cupule and seed production were similar to unburnt sites, while seed germination and seedling emergence were higher. At intermediate severity sites established seedlings (86,000±10,574seedlingsha-1) were significantly more frequent than the control. Generalized linear and additive models demonstrated that intermediate disturbance of litter and canopy cover favored beech regeneration.Mixed severity fires are an important ecological factor for the natural regeneration of beech. Such insights in beech disturbance ecology can help improve silviculture and post-fire restoration of Alpine forests. The synergy between fire and masting raises new questions concerning the role of fire in temperate beech forest.
|Titolo:||The synchronicity of masting and intermediate severity fire effects favors beech recruitment|
VACCHIANO, GIORGIO (Secondo)
|Parole Chiave:||Disturbance ecology; European Alps; Fagus sylvatica L.; Seed germination; Temperate forests; Wildfire; Forestry; Nature and Landscape Conservation; Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore AGR/05 - Assestamento Forestale e Selvicoltura|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.foreco.2015.05.031|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|