Rapid ecological assessment for post-fire restoration in low altitude forests and shrublands

A new publication uses insights from a case study in the Marmaris region in Turkey to develop a rapid assessment method and post-fire restoration prescriptions.

Pine cones
Photo: İrem Tüfekcioğlu.

The Mediterranean Basin is a biogeography shaped by fires for millions of years. For the restoration of burned areas in the Mediterranean Basin, therefore, planning should increase resistance and resilience of plant communities to fire by considering adaptation strategies of plant species to fire.

In this study, following the fire of 2021, which affected approximately 12,500 hectares in Marmaris region, a rapid assessment method and post-fire restoration prescriptions were developed for the Datça-Bozburun Special Environmental Protection Area. By using EFFIS and Sentinel-2 satellite images, the burned area was determined and classified to fire severity with normalized burn ratio difference. The regeneration potential of burned areas was revealed by counting the number of serotinous cones of Turkish red pine (Pinus brutia) and estimating potential coverage of maquis species in sampling areas based on stand type and burn severity levels. Open pine stands had the highest serotiny and high resprouting potential following maquis vegetation, while the young pine stands have the lowest level of serotiny.

Considering results and slope degrees, six restoration prescriptions were developed for burned areas. While 6% of the burned area was recommended to be left unmanaged, natural regeneration laying out branches with cones and natural regeneration with additional seeding, as well as artificial regeneration by planting saplings after terracing were foreseen for the remaining areas. The simple and cost-effective methodology developed in this study is highly applicable to local practitioners and decision makers, as it can be carried out within two months following the fire.

Full reference

Tüfekcioğlu, İ. , Ergan, G. , Kaynaş, B. , Aktepe, N. , Tavşanoğlu, Ç. 2022. Akdeniz iklim bölgesindeki alt yükselti orman ve çalılıklarında yangın sonrası hızlı ekolojik değerlendirme ile restorasyon önerilerinin geliştirilmesi: Datça-Bozburun Özel Çevre Koruma Bölgesi örneği (Recommendations by Rapid Ecological Assessment for Post-Fire Restoration in Low Altitude Forests and Shrublands in Mediterranean Climate Region: A Case Study for Datça-Bozburun Special Protection Area). Turkish Journal of Forestry, 23: 163-177. https://doi.org/10.18182/tjf.1118883