October 7, 2022

Reforestation of a land after extinguishing a fire

Rafa Gonzalez |

Madrid, (EFE).- Erosion control and soil protection; cut, remove and remove the wood, as well as the coarse woody remains burned; repairing damage to road infrastructure and carrying out repopulation or replanting are the first actions to be taken after a forest fire has been extinguished in order to carry out its recovery.

But is it necessary in all cases to opt for reforestation after a forest fire? Not quite, the forestry engineer and partner of the reforestation platform explained to EFE «Reforestation» Juan Carlos Maldonado, who pointed out that this depends on the type of vegetation and the species affected.

Green shoots in the burnt area of ​​the forest fire that devastated the Sierra de la Culebra. EFE/Mariam A. Montesinos

Well, for example, there are certain types of conifers “very resilient and perfectly adapted to fires”, which “take advantage of high temperatures to open their cones and disperse their seeds”.

Other species, such as quercineas, regrow after the fire, so in these cases there is no need to reforest, just carry out subsequent treatments to aid regeneration by clearing or thinning to ensure a vigorous future of the mature masses. consolidate. .

Likewise, according to this expert, “it may also be interesting for us from a forest management point of view to abandon areas without reforestation, which could serve as natural firebreak areas in the future.”

And how long does it take for a piece of land to be considered restored? “It’s a complex question,” Maldonado confessed, because after a fire a lot of organic material is lost due to high temperatures, which affects the microorganisms that inhabit the superficial layers.

In addition, “erosion also causes a lot of loss of fertile soil. It can take 1 to 5 years to restore soil fertility. Restoring vegetation cover prior to the fire is another issue. We can speak of 2 to 3 years if the burned area was inhabited by thickets or much longer periods if we speak of mature forest masses.

Pyrophytic Species

“Absolutely all plant species are affected by fires,” emphasized this engineer, who added that pyrophytes or pyrophiles “love fire” because “they can withstand it.”

«Absolutely all plant species are affected by fires»

This is an advantage in places and climates where these disasters return, because the species that don’t support them leave that niche for those that do withstand them, he added.

«In Mediterranean climates and in the Iberian Peninsula we have many species that are resistant to fire and as tree species we can mention holm oaks, oaks, junipers, some types of pines, and with regard to shrubby species we find sun roses, heather or rosemary among others. others,” he pointed out.

Wildlife is likely to be most affected after a fire that destroys their habitat, assured Maldonado, recalling that animals become disoriented, experience stress, dehydration and loss of nests, lose their natural habitat and are forced to move to new habitats. to search.

early recovery

“All these factors have a decisive influence on their reproductive capacity. Therefore, the early restoration of land damaged by fire is essential for the restoration of biodiversity and habitats for the fauna,” he stressed.

In addition, through reforestation, companies can neutralize their remaining carbon emissions and engage their communities in the forestry projects they support, said “Reforestum’s CEO and co-founder,” Diego Sanz.

Web Edition: Javier Agramunt Valero

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