Long-term forest management after wildfire (Catalonia, NE Iberian Peninsula)

  • Marcos FrancosEmail author
  • Xavier Úbeda
  • Paulo Pereira
Original Paper


Studies of post-fire soil status in Mediterranean ecosystems are common; however, few have examined the effects of long-term forest management after a wildfire on physicochemical soil properties. Here, we analyzed differences in soil properties attributable to long-term post-fire management and assessed the sustainability of these management practices in relation to the soil properties. The study area is located in Ódena in the northeast region of the Iberian Peninsula consisted of the control forest (burned more than 30 years ago), low density forest (LD; burned in a wildfire in 1986 and managed in 2005) and high density forest (HD; burned in a wildfire in 1986 and no managed). For soils from each plot, we measured soil water repellency, aggregate stability, total nitrogen (TN), soil organic matter (SOM), inorganic carbon (IC), pH, electrical conductivity, extractable calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium (K), phosphorus, aluminum (Al), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), zinc, copper, boron, chrome, silicon and sulfur and calculated the ratios of C/N, Ca + Mg/(Na + K)1/2, Ca/Al and Ca/Mg. Significant differences were found in TN, IC, SOM, pH, K, Al, Mn, Fe and C/N ratio (p < 0.05). All soil properties were found to have largely recovered their pre-fire values. Soils were affected by the post-fire management practices implemented 20 years after the fire, as reflected in their respective physicochemical properties, so that soil properties at the control and LD sites are more similar today than those at the control and HD sites. Thus, sustainable forest management can overcome soil degradation in areas affected by wildfire in the medium- and long-term by improving soil properties.


Soil chemical properties Aggregate stability Post-fire management Wildfire risk Vegetal density 



This study was supported by the POSTFIRE Project (CGL2013-47862-C2-1 and 2-R) and the POSTFIRE_CARE Project (CGL2016-75178-C2-2-R [AEI/FEDER, UE]), financed by the Spanish Research Agency (AIE) and the European Union through European Funding for Regional Development (FEDER) and the FPU Program (FPU 014/00037) of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports and Program 2014SGR825 and 2017SGR1344 of the Generalitat de Catalunya. We also thank our scientific and technical services for analyses of certain soil variables and for the English revision of this manuscript. We also thank the Diputación de Barcelona for facilitating access to the study site to complete the fieldwork.


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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GRAM (Grup de Recerca Ambiental Mediterrània), Department of GeographyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Environmental Management CentreMykolas Romeris UniversityVilniusLithuania

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