Evaluating the rffectiveness of post fire emergency rehabilitation treatments on soil degradation and erosion control in semi-arid Mediterranean areas of the Spanish south east.
In this study, we seeded a native plant species and applied a mulch of chopped wood originating from the same burned area to avoid the establishment of invasive species. We evaluated four treatments: (1) seeding, (2) mulch, (3) seeding and mulch, and (4) control. Our objective was to increase plant recovery and to minimize the soil erosion and degradation. The study was conducted in Alicante, Spain in Torremanzanas forest of the semi-arid Mediterranean bioclimatic area after the wildfire of November, 2002. During three years of monitoring, we find that combined treatment: seeding and mulch increased the post fire plant recovery 20% approximately more than the rest of treatments and the control plots. We also found that seven months after treating mulch and seeding and mulch treatments presented a gain of soil: +5.18 to +5.24 mm while the seeding treatment and control plots presented soil loss rates of: -0.48 to -0.49 mm. In addition, mulch treatment significantly decreased soil compaction to the half, and increased the infiltration capacity to 40 ml.mn-1 more than in plots without mulch, as well as increased the soil respiration to the double compared with no mulch plots. Work in progress confirms the positive effect of chopped wood as mulching treatment with or without seeding on the soil protection against soil erosion, and the amelioration of bio-physical properties after wildfires in the Mediterranean semi-arid burned areas.