International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Influence of water and terpenes on flammability in some dominant Mediterranean species

G. A. Alessio A C , J. Peñuelas A , J. Llusià A , R. Ogaya A , M. Estiarte A and M. De Lillis B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Unitat d’Ecofisiologia CSIC-CEAB-CREAF, CREAF (Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Aplicacions Forestals), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, E-08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain.

B Università del Molise, Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie per l’Ambiente e il Territorio (STAT), C. da Fonte Lappone, I-86090 Pesche, Isernia, Italy.

C Corresponding author. Email: gaalessio@creaf.uab.es or josep.penuelas@uab.cat

International Journal of Wildland Fire 17(2) 274-286 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF07038
Submitted: 21 February 2007  Accepted: 15 October 2007   Published: 18 April 2008

Abstract

In the Mediterranean basin, fires are a major concern for forest and shrubland ecosystems. We studied flammability, its seasonality and its relationship with leaf moisture and volatile terpene content and emission in the dominant species of a Mediterranean shrubland and forest in Catalonia (NE Iberian Peninsula). We measured temperatures and time elapsed between the three flammability phases: smoke, pyrolysis and flame, for four seasons. We sampled twice in spring because of an occasional drought period during this season. Flammability had a significant relationship with leaf hydration, in the shrubland and in the forest. Few and only weak correlations were found between terpene content and flammability. In the future, arid conditions projected by climatic and ecophysiological models will increase fire risk through decreased hydration and subsequent increased flammability of the species.

Additional keywords: Arbutus unedo, Cistus albidus, emission and content of volatile compounds, Erica multiflora, Globularia alypum, Phillyrea latifolia, Pinus halepensis, Pistacia lentiscus, Quercus ilex, Rosmarinus officinalis.


Acknowledgements

Our research was supported by ISONET (Marie Curie network contract MC-RTN-CT-2003 504720) from the European Union, by grants CGL2004–01402/BOS and CGL2006–04025 from the Spanish Government (Ministerio de Educacion y Ciencia, MEC), by a 2004 grant from the Fundación BBVA and by a SGR 2005–00312 grant from AGAUR (Generalitat de Catalunya). M.E. acknowledges support from Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnologia (Ramon y Cajal contract).


References


Alessio GA, De Lillis M, Brugnoli E , Lauteri M (2004) Water sources and water-use efficiency in Mediterranean coastal dune vegetation. Plant Biology  6, 350–357.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Bautista S, Bellot J, Vallejo VR (1994) Efectos de la siembra de herbáceas y la cubierta de paja sobre la escorrentía y la erosión post-incendio en ambiente semiárido. In ‘Geomorfología en España: III Reunión Nacional de Geomorfología. Vol. 2’, 14–16 September 1994, Logroño, Spain. (Eds A Gómez Villar, JM García Ruiz, J Arnáez Vadillo) pp. 189–198. (Sociedad Española de Geomorfología: Logroño, Spain)

Cappelli M, Bonani S, Conci I (1983) Sul Grado d’Infiammabilità di Alcune Specie Della Macchia Mediterranea. In ‘Collana Verde, Vol. 62’. pp. 1–52. (Ministero dell’ Agricoltura e delle Foreste: Rome, Italy)

Ferran A, Serrasolsas I, Vallejo VR (1992) Soil evolution after fire in Quercus ilex and Pinus halepensis forests. In ‘Responses of Forest Ecosystems to Environmental Changes’. (Eds A Teller, P Mathy, JNR Jeffers) pp. 397–404. (Elsevier: London, UK)

Francis CF, Thornes JB (1990). Runoff hydrographs from three Mediterranean vegetation cover types. In ‘Vegetation and Erosion’. (Ed. JB Thornes) pp. 363–384. (Wiley: Chichester, UK)

IPCC (2001) ‘Climate Change 2001: the Scientific Basis.’ (Eds JT Houghton, Y Ding, DJ Griggs, M Noguer, PJ Van Der Linden, X Dai, K Maskell, CA Johnson) (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge)

Llusià J , Peñuelas J (1998) Changes in terpene content and emission in potted Mediterranean woody plants under severe drought. Canadian Journal of Botany  76, 1366–1372.
CrossRef |

Llusià J , Peñuelas J (2000) Seasonal patterns of terpene content and emission from seven Mediterranean woody species in field conditions. American Journal of Botany  87, 133–140.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Loreto F, Ciccioli P, Cecinato A, Brancaleoni E, Frattoni M , Tricoli D (1996) Influence of environmental factors and air composition on the emission of α-pinene from Quercus ilex leaves. Plant Physiology  110, 267–275.

PubMed |

Massari G , Leopaldi A (1998) Leaf flammability in Mediterranean species. Plant Biosystems  132(1), 29–38.


McKenzie D, Gedalof ZE, Peterson DL , Mote P (2004) Climatic change, wildfire, and conservation. Conservation Biology  18(4), 890–902.
CrossRef |

Moench R, Fusaro J (2003) Soil erosion control after wildfire. University of Colorado, Fact sheet N° 6308. (Boulder, CO)

Ogaya R, Penuelas J, Martinez-Vilalta J , Mangiron M (2003) Effect of drought on diameter increment of Quercus ilex, Phillyrea latifolia, and Arbutus unedo in a holm oak forest of NE Spain. Forest Ecology and Management  180, 175–184.
CrossRef |

Owens MK, Lin CD, Taylor CA , Whisenant SG (1998) Seasonal patterns of plant flammability and monoterpenoid content in Juniperus ashei. Journal of Chemical Ecology  24(12), 2115–2129.
CrossRef |

Peñuelas J, Filella I, Sabate S, Gracia C (2005) Natural systems: terrestrial ecosystems. In ‘Report on Climate Change in Catalonia’. (Ed. JE Llebot) pp. 517–553. (Institut d’Estudis Catalans: Barcelona)

Piñol J, Terradas J , Lloret F (1998) Climate warming, wildfire hazard, and wildfire occurrence in coastal eastern Spain. Climatic Change  38, 345–357.
CrossRef |

Rambal S, Hoff C (1998) Mediterranean ecosystems and fire: the threats of global change. In ‘Large Forest Fires’. (Ed. JM Moreno) pp. 187–213. (Backhuys Publishers: Leiden, the Netherlands)

Rodriguez Añón JA, Fraga López F, Proupín Castiñeiras J, Palacios Ledo J , Núñez Regueira L (1995) Calorific values and flammability for forest wastes during the seasons of the year. Bioresource Technology  52, 269–274.
CrossRef |

Sabaté S, Gracia CA , Sanchez A (2002) Likely effects of climate change on growth of Quercus ilex, Pinus halepensis, Pinus pinaster, Pinus sylvestris and Fagus sylvatica forest in the Mediterranean region. Forest Ecology and Management  162, 23–37.
CrossRef |

Seufert G, Kotzias D, Sparta C, Versino B (1995) Volatile organics in Mediterranean shrubs and their potential role in a changing environment. In ‘Anticipated Effects of a Changing Global Environment on Mediterranean-Type Ecosystems’. (Eds WC Oechel, JM Moreno) pp. 343–370. (Springer-Verlag: New York)

Staudt M, Kotzias D, Sparta C, Ciccioli P (1993) Holm oak (Quercus ilex), a strong emitter of monoterpenes. In ‘Proceedings of the First Italian Symposium on the Strategies and Techniques for the Monitoring of the Atmosphere’, 20–22 September 1993, Rome, Italy. (Ed. P Ciccioli) pp. 579–586. (Società Chimica Italiana: Rome)

Trabaud L (1974) Experimental study on the effects of prescribed burning on a Quercus coccifera L. garrigue: early results. Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference Proceedings  13, 97–129.


Trabaud L (1976) Inflammabilité et combustibilité des principales espèces des garrigues de la région méditerranéenne. Acta Oecologica-Oecologica Plantarum  11, 117–136.


White CS (1994) Monoterpenes – their effects on ecosystem nutrient cycling. Journal of Chemical Ecology  20, 1381–1406.
CrossRef |

Zegellin SJ, White I , Jenkins DR (1989) Improved field probes for soil water content and electrical conductivity measurement using time domain reflectometry. Water Resources Research  25, 2367–2376.

CrossRef |



Export Citation Cited By (39)