Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Regeneration of riparian and maritime pine forests after a large wildfire on the largest public forest of Portugal.

Abstract

Eighty-six percent of the largest Portuguese public forest, Leiria National Forest (Mata Nacional de Leiria-MNL), central west, was burned in a wildfire in October 2017. Most of the area was covered by maritime pine stands (Pinus pinaster Aiton) crossed by riparian forests along small-sized streams. This work aims to characterize the post-fire vegetation and evaluate its natural regeneration. Sampling was carried out c. 6 months after the fire in 28 plots distributed at pine stands (3.5 × 3.5 m2) and in 24 plots (5 × 20 m2) at stream channels and riverbanks. These latter surveys were repeated in 2019. Data include the floristic composition and cover data of pine stands and streams, and the number of pine seedlings. Six months after the fire, 60% and 93% of the pre-fire species were observed at streams and pine stands, respectively. Fire severity was not related to differences in flora composition, nor with species richness. Pine seedlings were significantly more abundant in pine stands >60 years old compared to younger (<25 y) stands, but no significant differences were observed in the regeneration of understory. On riparian landscapes, the germination and resprouting of invasive exotic species, such as Acacia sp., created dense vegetation formations with decreased native plant diversity and altered the ecosystem structure. Following large wildfires, such as the one in MNL, managers should prioritize preserving the natural regeneration potential in the soil and aerial seed banks.