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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 21(1)

The importance of piled wood debris on the distribution of bird-dispersed plants in burned and logged Mediterranean pine forests

J. Rost A B , J. M. Bas A and P. Pons A

A Departament de Ciències Ambientals, Universitat de Girona, Campus de Montilivi, E-17071 Girona, Catalonia, Spain.
B Corresponding author. Email: joseprost@gmail.com

International Journal of Wildland Fire 21(1) 79-85 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF10068
Submitted: 6 July 2010  Accepted: 2 March 2011   Published: 3 November 2011

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Plant dispersal and colonisation are important processes in vegetation recovery after fire and, for several species, depend on the presence of frugivorous avian seed dispersers. In burned and salvage-logged Mediterranean pine forests, the occurrence of disperser birds is enhanced by the presence of wood debris piles built as erosion barriers, which become seed dispersal foci. We hypothesised that the distribution of bird-dispersed plants after fire could be determined by the presence of wood piles. We analysed the differences in species richness and overall cover of bird-dispersed plants, as well as the cover of the most common species, within piles and outside them. We also tested if micro-environmental conditions (slope orientation and pile size) might influence plant occurrence. We found more species and overall cover within piles, when located on southern and south-eastern slopes, than outside them. Moreover, taller piles showed higher values of bird-dispersed plant cover and richness. Therefore, wood piles may provide the necessary conditions for bird-dispersed plant recruitment in dry burned areas. To our knowledge, this is the first reported man-made structure that clearly benefits the recovery of bird-dispersed plants in burned areas, and suggests that piles may be a useful restoration measure when logging Mediterranean burned forests.

Additional keywords: fire, post-fire management, restoration, seedling recruitment.


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