Rafa Gonzalez |

Madrid, (EFE).- Erosion control and soil protection; cutting, stripping and removing wood, as well as burnt coarse woody remains; repairing the damage caused to the road infrastructure and restocking or planting are the first actions to be taken after the extinction of a forest fire in order to proceed with its recovery.

But should we always opt for reforestation after a forest fire? Not at all, explained to the EFE the forest engineer and partner of the reforestation platform “ReforestationJuan Carlos Maldonado, who pointed out that it depends on the type of vegetation and the species that have been affected.

Green sprouts in the area burned from the forest fire that devastated the Sierra de la Culebra. EFE/Mariam A. Montesinos

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

Other species, such as quercineas, regrow after fire, so in these cases it is not necessary to reforest, only to carry out subsequent treatments to help regeneration by clearing or thinning to consolidate a vigorous future of tree mass, he said. .

Likewise, according to this expert, “it can also be interesting for us from the point of view of forest management to leave areas without reforestation, which can serve as natural firebreaks in the future”.

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

In addition, “erosion also causes a lot of loss of fertile soil. It can take between 1 and 5 years to regain soil fertility. Recovering the vegetation cover before the fire is another problem. We can talk about 2 to 3 years if the burnt area was populated with brush or much longer periods if we are talking about mature forests.

Pyrophyte species

“Absolutely all plant species are affected by fires”, underlines this engineer, who however specifies that pyrophytes or pyrophiles “like fire” because “they are able to resist it”.

Absolutely all plant species are affected by fires”

This is an advantage in places and climates where these disasters are recurrent, because species that cannot tolerate them leave this niche to those that do, he added.

“In Mediterranean climates and on the Iberian Peninsula, we have many fire-resistant species and as tree species we can cite holm oaks, oaks, junipers, some pine species and in relation to shrubby species, we can find cistus, heather or rosemary, among others”, he specified.

Wildlife is probably the most affected after a fire that destroys its habitat, assured Maldonado, who recalled that the animals become disoriented, suffer from stress, dehydration and loss of nests, lose their natural niche and are forced to seek food. new habitats.

early recovery

“All these factors have a decisive influence on their ability to reproduce. Therefore, early restoration of lands affected by fire is essential for the recovery of biodiversity and habitats for wildlife,” he stressed.

Moreover, through reforestation, companies can neutralize their residual CO2 emissions and involve their communities in the forestry projects they support, said “Reforestum” CEO and co-founder Diego Sanz.

Web edition: Javier Agramunt Valero

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