IFOREST-BIOGEOSCIENCES AND FORESTRY, vol.11, pp.635-642, 2018 (SCI-Expanded)
Although reforestation is frequently utilized in many Mediterranean Basin countries to restore burned Mediterranean pine woodlands, post-fire recovery of the plant community is often neglected. To compare the post-fire recovery of the plant community following active and indirect post-fire restoration techniques, we studied three post-fire regeneration treatments in a salvage-logged Pinus brutia forest, including two active (plantation and seeding) restoration techniques and one indirect (natural regeneration). An unburned pine stand was also included in the study. We applied the point-intercept method to obtain data on the presence and cover of individual species and functional groups in six replicate one-hectare plots for each treatment. We found no significant differences in plant species richness among post-fire treatments; however, plant community composition and vegetation structure were significantly different between treatments. There was a shift in plant community structure when active restoration techniques were applied, from the woody-and resprouter-dominated plant community of the unburned site to an annual herbaceous-and non-resprouter-dominated one. Our results suggest that active restoration by planting tree saplings in Mediterranean pine forests after a fire may decrease the plant community's resilience and provide empirical evidence that pine plantation treatments change the plant species composition of these forests. These results have important implications for post-fire management of Mediterranean Basin pine forests.