Twenty-five Years of Fire Research in the Temperate Semi-arid Rangelands of Central Argentina: A Synthesis

Abstract

Fire is a natural part in the semiarid zone of central Argentina (Caldenal). Historically, it had an important ecological role in this ecosystem on the species composition, vegetation structure and vegetation dynamics. Fire frequency decreased in the past 100 years as consequence of fine-fuel removal by domestic livestock grazing and active fire suppression. If intermittent fires do not occur the rangelands will be converted to savannas, shrublands or woodlands. The aim of this review was to explain the ecological role of fire in the southern Caldenal rangelands, the woody and grass species response to fire, and to discuss the effect of post-fire defoliation on forage grass species. Controlled fire could be used as a management tool for to reset the ecological balance among grass and woody species in the region. After controlled fire, for the recovery of desirable perennial grasses the burned rangelands may should not be grazed for at least one year. However, there is the need for further research to understand the effects of the controlled fire on soil seed bank, soil chemical, physical, and biotic properties, and use of controlled fire combined with other of woody species control strategies to prescribe sound and generalized management policies.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Fire studies conducted by our research group in the southern Caldenal were funded by Universidad Nacional del Sur (UNS) and Comisión de Investigaciones Científicas de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (CIC), Argentina.

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Daniel Valerio Peláez, Blazquez, F.R. & Andrioli, R.J. Twenty-five Years of Fire Research in the Temperate Semi-arid Rangelands of Central Argentina: A Synthesis. Russ J Ecol 52, 49–58 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1134/S1067413621010112

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Keywords:

  • controlled burning
  • woody species control
  • desirable perennial grasses
  • post-fire defoliation
  • Caldén District
  • Argentina rangelands