Fire as driver of the expansion of Paraserianthes lophantha (Willd.) I. C. Nielsen in SW Europe

  • J. García-DuroEmail author
  • O. Cruz
  • M. Casal
  • O. Reyes
Original Paper


Paraserianthes lophantha (Willd.) I. C. Nielsen is a plant species native to SW Australia that has recently invaded temperate ecosystems in Europe and other areas in the world. Since it has been found in burnt areas and its expansion could be promoted by forest fires, the germination response of seeds to fire factors (heat, smoke, ash and charcoal) was analyzed. Furthermore, stochastic post-fire invasion models were developed to check the impact of one-off and repeated forest fires. The spreading pattern after fire was modeled to provide accurate forecasts for future fires. The model was parameterized using data recorded after the 2013 forest fire in the Natura 2000 site Monte Pindo. Germination response is mainly modified by heat, which breaks seed dormancy at moderate temperature and kills seeds at high temperatures. Smoke, ash and charcoal did not have relevant influence on seed germination except large amounts of ash, which prevented seed germination. Neither charcoal origin (from native or from exotic species) had a significant effect on P. lophantha germination. The invasion model demonstrated the significant role of forest fires promoting P. lophantha spreading. Recurrent fires promote the spreading of invasive species, threatening natural plant communities. However, the expansion of the species was not exclusively linked to forest fires: anthropic systems, edges of agricultural areas and old fields were particularly affected by P. lophantha expansion. Some control methods based on the reproductive behavior and spreading pattern of P. lophantha were proposed in order to prevent new invasions and manage invaded areas.


Forest fire Invasive species Germination Spatial stochastic models Spreading pattern 



This work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the framework of the GESFIRE (AGL2013-48189-C2-2-R) and FIRESEVES (AGL2017-86075-C2-2-R) projects. Finally, we thank the reviewers for their constructive comments.

Supplementary material

10530_2018_1910_MOESM1_ESM.tif (2 mb)
Examples of P. lophantha stands in Monte Pindo 4 years after fire. Left: Outer view of a stand. Right: Inner structure of a stand (TIFF 2063 kb)
10530_2018_1910_MOESM2_ESM.png (201 kb)
Root-mean-square error (RMSE) of the four functions performed for the spreading model parameterization (PNG 201 kb)
10530_2018_1910_MOESM3_ESM.jpg (443 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (JPEG 444 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Área de Ecoloxía, Dpto. de Bioloxía Funcional, Facultade de BioloxíaUniversidade de Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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