Aleppo Pine (Pinus Halepensis) Postfire Regeneration: the Role of Canopy and Soil Seed Banks
International Journal of Wildland Fire
6(2) 59 - 66
AbstractPinus halepensis (Aleppo pine), is the dominant tree of a large fraction (26%) of the Greek coniferous forests; this species is an endemic pine of the Mediterranean Rim and well adapted to fire. Its regeneration is accomplished exclusively through seeds, thus its soil and canopy seed banks are of paramount importance for postfire resilience. Cone opening and seed dispersal were investigated in unburned forests of Attica (Greece) and it was found that Pinus halepensis trees maintain a significant percentage of the yearly cone crop (40-80%) closed, thus creating a persistent, canopy seed bank. Full viability of enclosed seeds was maintained for at least three years in canopy storage; moreover, preliminary results concerning the viability of seeds enclosed within the cones for four to more than 50 years showed a gradual reduction of both final percentage and rate of germination. Nevertheless, cones of up to 20 years of age contained a considerable fraction of germinable seeds. On the other hand, Aleppo pine forms only a short-lived (transient) soil seed bank; this bank was particularly abundant after a fire, as a result of the fire-induced cone opening. The germinable seed portion, although quite important prior to the start of the rainy season, was rapidly depleted, and at the end of the rainy season it was virtually absent in both burned and unburned forests. It is therefore concluded that postfire Aleppo pine seedling recruitment takes place almost exclusively during the first year after the fire and depends upon the germination of seeds in a transient soil bank which is produced by the postfire dispersal of pine seeds stored in the canopy seed bank.
Keywords: Regeneration capacity; Cone serotiny; Bradychory; Seed rain, Seed storage; Seed germination; Seed longevity
© IAWF 1996