Research article

Temporal shifts in floristic and avian diversity in Mediterranean pine forest ecosystems under different fire pressure: The island of Zakynthos as a case study

Konstantinos Poirazidis, Evgenia Chaideftou , Aristotelis Martinis, Vasileios Bontzorlos, Polixeni Galani, Dionissios Kalivas

Konstantinos Poirazidis
Department of Environment Technology, Technological Educational Institute of Ionian Islands, Panagoula, 29 100 Zante, Greece
Evgenia Chaideftou
Department of Environment Technology, Technological Educational Institute of Ionian Islands, Panagoula, 29 100 Zante, Greece. Email: eugeniachd@gmail.com
Aristotelis Martinis
Department of Environment Technology, Technological Educational Institute of Ionian Islands, Panagoula, 29 100 Zante, Greece
Vasileios Bontzorlos
Center for Research and Technology – Hellas (CERTH), Institute for Bio-Economy and Agri-Technology (iBO), Thessaly, Dimarhou Georgiadi Nikolaou 118, Volos, 38333, Greece
Polixeni Galani
NCC- Nature Conservation Consultants Ltd. Chalandri, Athens, Greece
Dionissios Kalivas
Agricultural University of Athens, Laboratory of Agricultural Chemistry and Soil Science, GIS Research Unit, Iera Odos 75, GR11855 Athens, Greece

Online First: December 15, 2017
Poirazidis, K., Chaideftou, E., Martinis, A., Bontzorlos, V., Galani, P., Kalivas, D. 2017. Temporal shifts in floristic and avian diversity in Mediterranean pine forest ecosystems under different fire pressure: The island of Zakynthos as a case study. Annals of Forest Research DOI:10.15287/afr.2017.917


We evaluated how fire impacts the ecological coherence of Aleppo pine forests and their biodiversity over a 40-year period. The study area forms part of an insular ecosystem of Zakynthos Island (Zante) in western Greece, which forms part of the Ionian Islands. Post-fire effects were studied for both plant and bird diversity at 20 sampling plots, using stratified random sampling, during the summer of 2012. The plots were selected based on the frequency of burning since the 1970s. Sites were categorized as: 1) no burning for >40 years, 2) burnt once in the 1970s, 3) burnt twice, first in the 1970s and again in 2000–2010, 4) burnt three times, first in the 1970s, and twice more in 2000–2010, and 5) burnt four times, first in the1970s, twice more in 2000–2010, and again in 2011. A total of 79 plant species and 26 bird species were recorded at the studied sites. One-way ANOVA analysis showed that fire intensity has a significant impact on alpha floristic diversity. Average plant species richness at sites that burned in 2011 was significantly higher than in those that burned in the 1970s. Detected differences in bird species richness were not significant; however, more species were documented in the forested habitats (unburnt for >40 years, and burnt in the 1970s). The highest Jaccard similarity index was observed between the sites that had not burned for more than 40 years and the sites that burned in the 1970s. The lowest floristic similarity to non-burnt sites was observed between the recently burnt sites in 2011 and the sites that burned in the 1970s. The lowest bird similarity was detected between recently burnt sites in 2011 and sites that had not burned for more than 40 years. DCA ordination showed the presence of a clear fire gradient, from intensively burnt open sites to non-burnt forest sites. We suggest that fire is essential to maintain biodiversity in Aleppo pine forests, but only at intermediate frequency.

Agee J.K., 1998. Fire and pine ecosystems. In: Richardson D.M. (ed.), Ecology and biogeography. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 193-218.

Albanesi S., Dardanelli S., Bellis L.M., 2014. Effects of fire disturbance on bird communities and species of mountain Serrano forest in central Argentina. Journal of Forest Research 19(1): 105-114. DOI: 10.1007/s10310-012-0388-4

Arianoutsou M., Ne’eman G., 2000. Post-fire regeneration of natural Pinus halepensis forest in the east Mediterranean Basin. ?n G. Ne’eman and L. Trabaud (eds.). Ecology, Biogeography and Management of Pinus halepensis and P. brutia Forest Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Basin. Backhuys, Leiden, The Netherlands, pp. 269-290.

Beckage B., Stout I.J., 2000. Effects of repeated burning in Florida pine savannas: a test of the intermediate disturbance hypothesis. Journal of Vegetation Science 11: 113-122. DOI: 10.2307/3236782

Bibby C.J., Burgess N.D., Hill D.A., Mustoe S., 2000. Bird Census Techniques, Academic Press Inc., 302 p.

Blondel J., Aronson J., Bodiou J.Y., Boeuf G., 2010. The Mediterranean Region. Biological Diversity in Space and Time. Oxford University Press, New York, 392 p.

Böhling N., 1995. Zeigerwerte der Phanerogamen-Flora von Naxos (Griechenland). Ein Beitrag zur ökologischen Kennzeichnung der mediterranen Pflanzenwelt [Indicator values of the phanerogams’ flora of Naxos (Greece). A contribution to the ecological classification of the Mediterranean flora]. Stuttgarter Beitr. Naturk., Ser. A (Biologie), 533 p.

Braun-Blanquet J., 1964. Pflanzensoziologie - Grundzüge der Vegetationskunde [Plant sociology; the study of plant communities]. 3rd edn, Springer-Verlag, 365 p. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-7091-8110-2

Brockway D.G., Lewis C.E., 1997. Long-term effects of dormant-season prescribed fire on plant community diversity, structure and productivity in a longleaf pine wiregrass ecosystem. Forest Ecology and Management 96: 167-183. DOI: 10.1016/S0378-1127(96)03939-4

Brotons L., Pons P., Herrando S., 2005. Colonization of dynamic Mediterranean landscapes: where do birds come from after fire? Journal of Biogeography 32: 789-798. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2004.01195.x

Buhk C., Götzenberger L., Wesche K., Sánchez Gómez P. and Hensen I., 2006. Post-fire regeneration in a Mediterranean pine forest with historically low fire frequency. Acta Oecologica 30: 288-298. DOI: 10.1016/j.actao.2006.05.010

Capinera J.L., (ed.), 2008. Encyclopedia of Entomology, 2nd edn., Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, 4346 p. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6

Capitanio R., Carcaillet C., 2008. Post-fire Mediterranean vegetation dynamics and diversity. A discussion of succession models. Forest Ecology and Management 255: 431-439. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2007.09.010

Chuvieco E., Aguado I., Yebra M., Nieto H., Salas J., Martín M.P., Vilar L., Martínez J., Martín S., Ibarra P., de la Riva J., Baeza J., Rodríguez F., Molina J.R., Herrera M.A., Zamora R., 2010. Development of a framework for fire risk assessment using remote sensing and geographic information system technologies. Ecological Modelling 221: 46-58. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2008.11.017

Corona P., Ferrari B., Cartisano R., Barbati A., 2014. Calibration assessment of forest flammability potential in Italy. iForest 7: 300–305.

Curt T., Adra W., Borgniet L., 2009. Fire-driven oak regeneration in French Mediterranean ecosystems. Forest Ecology and Management. 258: 2127–2135. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2009.08.010

Doblas-Miranda E., Alonso R., Arnana X., Bermejo V., Brotons L., de las Heras J., Estiarte M., Hódar J.A., Llorens P., Lloret F., López-Serrano F.R., Martínez-Vilalta J., Moya D., Pe-uelas J., Pino J., Rodrigo A., Roura-Pascual N., Valladares F., Vilà M., Zamora R., Retana J., 2017. A review of the combination among global change factors in forests, shrublands and pastures of the Mediterranean Region: Beyond drought effects. Global and Planetary Change 148: 42-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2016.11.012

Edenius L., 2011. Short-term effects of wildfire on bird assemblages in old pine- and spruce-dominated forests in northern Sweden. Ornis Fennica 88: 71-79.

Eugenio Gosalbo M., Verkaik I., Lloret F. and Espelta J.M., 2006a. Recruitment and growth decline in Pinus halepensis populations after recurrent wildfires in Catalonia (NE Iberian Peninsula). Forest Ecology and Management 231: 47-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2006.05.007

Eugenio Gosalbo M., Lloret F., Alca-iz J.M., 2006b. Regional patterns of fire recurrence effects on calcareous soils of Mediterranean Pinus halepensis communities. Forest Ecology and Management 221: 313-318. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2005.10.011

European Commission (EC), 2013. Forest Fires in Europe, Middle East and North Africa 2012. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 107 p.

European Union Commission, DG-ENV, 2013. Interpretation Manual of the European Union Habitats - EUR28. 1-144.

Evelpidou N., 2011. Modelling of erosional processes in the Ionian islands. Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risks 3(4): 293-310. DOI: 10.1080/19475705.2011.604798

Fernandes P.M., Guiomar N., Mateus P., Oliveira T., 2017. On the reactive nature of forest fire-related legislation in Portugal: A comment on Mourão and Martinho (2016). Land Use Policy 60: 12-15. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.10.008

Fuhlendorf S.D., Engle D.M., Elmore R.D., Limb R.F., Bidwell T.G., 2012. Conservation of pattern and process: developing an alternative paradigm of rangeland management. Rangeland Ecology and Management 65: 579-589. DOI: 10.2111/REM-D-11-00109.1

Fyllas N.M., Phillips O.L., Kunin W.E., Matsinos Y.G., Troumbis A.I., 2007. Development and parameterization of a general forest gap dynamics simulator for the North-eastern Mediterranean Basin (GREek FOrest Species). Ecological Modelling 204: 439-456. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2007.02.006

Ganteaume A., Jappiot M., Lampin-Maillet C., Curt T., Borgniet L., 2009. Fuel characterization and effects of wildfire recurrence on vegetation structure on limestone soils in southeastern France. Forest Ecology and Management 258: 15–23. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2009.07.021

García-Ruiz J-M., Nadal-Romero E., Lana-Renault N., Beguería S., 2013. Erosion in Mediterranean landscapes: Changes and future challenges. Geomorphology 198: 20-36. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.05.023

Gauch H.G.Jr., 1982. Multivariate analysis in community ecology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Gil-Romera G., Carrion J.S., Pausas J.G., Sevilla-Callejo M., Lamb H.F., Fernandez S., Burjachs F., 2010. Holocene fire activity and vegetation response in South-Eastern Iberia. Quaternary Science Reviews 29: 1082-1092. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.01.006

Gillson L. 2009. Landscapes in time and space. Landscape Ecology 24: 149-155. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-008-9315-7

Glitzenstein J.S., Streng D.R., Masters R.E., Robertson K.M., Hermann S.M., 2012. Fire-frequency effects on vegetation in north Florida pinelands: Another look at the long-term Stoddard Fire Research Plots at Tall Timbers Research Station. Forest Ecology and Management 264: 197-209. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2011.10.014

Hellenic Ornithological Society, 2007. Database for Falco eleonorae 2004-2007. LIFE – Nature “Conservation actions for Falco eleonorae in Greece” (LIFE03 NAT/GR/000091).

Herrando S., Brotons L., 2002. Forest bird diversity in Mediterranean areas affected by wildfires: A multi-scale approach. Ecography 25(2): 161-172. DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-0587.2002.250204.x

Kadereit J.W., Körner C., Kost K, Sonnewald U. (eds.), 2014: Strasburger Lehrbuch der Pflanzenwissenschaften [Strasburger’s textbook of Botany], 37th ed., Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, 919 p. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-54435-4

Kazanis D., Arianoutsou M., 1996. Vegetation composition in a post-fire successional gradient of Pinus halepensis forest in Attica, Greece. International Journal of Wildland Fires 6(2): 83–91. DOI: 10.1071/WF9960083

Kazanis D., Arianoutsou M., 2002. Long term post-fire vegetation dynamics in Pinus halepensis forests of Central Greece: plant community patterns. In: Viegas D.X. (ed). Proceedings of the 4th international Conference of Forest Fire Research, Millpress, The Netherlands, electronic edition.

Kazanis D., Arianoutsou M., 2004. Factors determining low Mediterranean ecosystem resilience to fire: the case of Pinus halepensis forests. In: Arianoutsou M. & Papanastasis V. (eds.), Proceedings of 10th MEDECOS Conference, April 25-May 1 2004, Rhodes, Greece, Millpress Rotterdam, ISBN 9059660161.

Keane R.E., Cary G.J., Flannigan M.D., Parsons R.A., Davies I.D., King K.J., Li C., Bradstock R.A., Gill M., 2013. Exploring the role of fire, succession, climate, and weather on landscape dynamics using comparative modeling. Ecological Modelling 266: 172-186. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2013.06.020

Kefalas G., Poirazidis K., Kalogirou S., Martinis A., 2016. Dynamic variation of land use/cover changes and landscape in Ionian Islands complex. 8th Greek Ecology Conference, Thessaloniki, 20-23 October 2016.

Koutsias N., Arianoutsou M., Kallimanis A.S., Mallinis G., Halley J.M., Dimopoulos P., 2012. Where did the fires burn in Peloponnisos, Greece the summer of 2007? Evidence for a synergy of fuel and weather. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 156: 41-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2011.12.006

Krivtsov V., Vigy O., Legg C., Curt T., Rigolot E., Lecomte I., Jappiot M., Lampin-Maillet C., Fernandes P., Pezzatti G.B., 2009. Fuel modelling in terrestrial ecosystems: An overview in the context of the development of an object-orientated database for wild fire analysis. Ecological Modelling 220: 2915-2926. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2009.08.019

Lachance D., Lavoie C., 2004. Vegetation of Sphagnum bogs in highly disturbed landscapes: relative influence of abiotic and anthropogenic factors. Applied Vegetation Science 7: 183-192. DOI: 10.1658/1402-2001(2004)007[0183:VOSBIH]2.0.CO;2

Lloret F., Pausas J.G., Vilà M., 2003. Responses of Mediterranean plant species to different fire frequencies in Garraf Natural Park (Catalonia, Spain): field observations and modelling. Plant Ecology 223–235. DOI: 10.1023/A:1023911031155

López-Bermúdez F., 2008. Desertificación: Preguntas y respuestas a un desafío económico, social y ambiental [Desertification: Questions and answers about an economic, social and environmental challenge]. Fundación Biodiversidad, Madrid, 129 p.

Lowe J., Pothier D., Rompré G., Savard J.P.L., 2012. Long-term changes in bird community in the unmanaged post-fire eastern Québec boreal forest. Journal of Ornithology 153: 1113-1125. DOI: 10.1007/s10336-012-0841-3

Maia P., Keizer J., Vasques A., Abrantes N., Roxo L., Fernandes P., Ferreira A., Moreira F., 2014. Post-fire plant diversity and abundance in pine and eucalypt stands in Portugal: Effects of biogeography, topography, forest type and post-fire management. Forest Ecology and Management 334: 154-162. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2014.08.030

Martinis A., Chaideftou E., Minotou Ch., Poirazidis ?. 2017. Spatial analysis, Hot Spots and orchids diversity in Zante Island. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of Prosilva Europe, 8-11 October 2017, Edessa, Greece.

Miller J.D., Safford H.D., Crimmins M., Thode A.E., 2008. Quantitative evidence for increasing forest fire severity in the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascade Mountains, California and Nevada, USA. Ecosystems 12: 16-32. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-008-9201-9

Moreira F., Vaz P., Catry F., Silva J.S., 2009. Regional variations in wildfire susceptibility of land-cover types in Portugal: implications for landscape management to minimize fire hazard. International Journal of Wildland Fire 18(5): 563-574. DOI: 10.1071/WF07098

Moreira F., Ferreira P.G., Rego F.C., Bunting S., 2001. Landscape changes and breeding bird assemblages in northwestern Portugal: the role of fire. Landscape Ecology 16: 175-187. DOI: 10.1023/A:1011169614489

Moreno J.M., Vázquez A., Veléz R., 1998. Recent history of forest fires in Spain. In: Moreno, J.M. (ed.), Large Forest Fires. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, the Netherlands, pp. 159-185.

Nakos G., 1977. Soil map of Greece. General Directorate of Forests and Natural Environment, Institute of Forest Research, Athens.

Nur N., Jones S.L., Geupel, G.R., 1999. A statistical guide to data analysis of avian monitoring programs. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, BTP-R6001-1999, Washington D.C, 61 p.

Pausas J.C., Llovet J., Rodrigo A., Vallejo R., 2008. Are wildfires a disaster in the Mediterranean basin? A review. International Journal of Wildland Fire 17(6): 713-723. DOI: 10.1071/WF07151

Peel M.C., Finlayson B.L., McMahon T.A., 2007. Updated world map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. Hydrolology and Earth Systems Science 11: 1633-1644. DOI: 10.5194/hess-11-1633-2007

Pettas H., Poirazidis K., Daneli N., Martinis A., Lattas P., 2015. Evaluation of post-fire natural restoration indices with the use of remote sensing data. Proceedings of the 17th Greek Forestry Conference: “The contribution of modern forestry and protected areas in sustainable development”. Hellenic Forestry Society, 4-7 October 2015, Kefallinia, pp. 499-508.

Portolou D., Bourdakis S., Vlachos C., Kastritis T., Dimalexis T., 2009. Important Bird Areas of Greece: Priority Areas for Biodiversity Conservation. Hellenic Ornithological Society, Athens [In Greek].

Puerta-Pi-ero C., Espelta J.M., Sánchez-Humanes B., Rodrigo A., Coll L., Brotons L., 2012. History matters: Previous land use changes determine post-fire vegetation recovery in forested Mediterranean landscapes. Forest Ecology and Management 279: 121-127. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2012.05.020

Reilly M.J., Wimberly M.C., Newell C.L., 2006. Wildfire effects on plant species richness at multiple spatial scales in forest communities of the southern Appalachians. Journal of Ecology 94: 118-130. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2005.01055.x

Retana J., Espelta J.M., Habrouk A., Ordó-ez J.L., de Solà-Morales F., 2002. Regeneration patterns of three Mediterranean pines and forest changes after a large wildfire in northeastern Spain. Ecoscience 9: 89–97. DOI: 10.1080/11956860.2002.11682694

Rodrigo A., Retana J., Picó F.X., 2004. Direct regeneration is not the only response of Mediterranean forests to large fires. Ecology 85(3): 716-729. DOI: 10.1890/02-0492

Ruiz-Labourdette D., Schmitz M.F., Pineda F.D., 2013. Changes in tree species composition in Mediterranean mountains under climate change: Indicators for conservation planning. Ecological Indicators 24: 310-323. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2012.06.021

Sakulich J., Taylor A.H., 2007. Fire regimes and forest structure in a sky island mixed conifer forest, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 241: 62-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2006.12.029

Santos X., Bros V., Mino A., 2009. Recolonization of a burned Mediterranean area by terrestrial gastropods. Biodiversity Conservation 18: 3153-3165. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-009-9634-2

Schaffhauser A., Curt T., Véla E., Tatoni T., 2012. Fire recurrence effects on the abundance of plants grouped by traits in Quercus suber L. woodlands and maquis. Forest Ecology and Management 282: 157-166. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2012.06.047

Schwilk D.W., Keeley J.E., Bond W.J., 1997. The intermediate disturbance hypothesis does not explain fire and diversity pattern in fynbos. Plant Ecology 132: 77-84. DOI: 10.1023/A:1009755320731

Shakesby R.A. 2011. Post-wildfire soil erosion in the Mediterranean: Review and future research directions. Earth-Science Reviews 105: 71-100. DOI: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2011.01.001

Standish J.R., Hobbs R.J., Mayfield M.M., Bestelmeyer B.T., Suding K.N., Battaglia L.L., Eviner V., Hawkes C.V., Temperton V.M., Cramer V.A., Harris J.A., Funk J.L., Thomas P.A., 2014. Resilience in ecology: Abstraction, distraction, or where the action is? Biological Conservation 177: 43-51. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.06.008

Taylor A.H., 2000. Fire regimes and forest changes in mid and upper montane forests of the southern Cascades, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California, USA. Journal of Biogeography 27: 87-104. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2699.2000.00353.x

ter Braak C.J.F., Šmilauer P., 2002. CANOCO reference manual and CanoDraw for Windows user’s guide: software for canonical community ordination (version 4.5). Microcomputer power, Ithaca, New York, USA, 500 p.

Tingley M.W., Ruiz-Gutierrez V., Wilkerson R.L., Howell C.A., Siegel R.B., 2016. Pyrodiversity promotes avian diversity over the decade following forest fire. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 283: 20161703. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1703

Turco M., Levin N., Tessler N., Saaroni H., 2017. Recent changes and relations among drought, vegetation and wildfires in the Eastern Mediterranean: The case of Israel. Global and Planetary Change 151: 28-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2016.09.002

Vacchiano G., Garbarino M., Lingua M., Motta R., 2017. Forest dynamics and disturbance regimes in the Italian Apennines. Forest Ecology and Management 388: 57-66. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2016.10.033

Versluijs M., Eggers S., Hjältén J., Löfroth T., Roberge J.M., 2017. Ecological restoration in boreal forest modifies the structure of bird assemblages. Forest Ecology and Management 401: 75-88. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2017.06.055

Viedma O., 2008. The influence of topography and fire in controlling landscape composition and structure in Sierra de Gredos (Central Spain). Landscape Ecology 23(6): 657-672. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-008-9228-5

Warren S.D., Holbrook S.W., Dale D.A., Whelan N.L., Elyn M., Grimm W., Jentsch A., 2007. Biodiversity and the Heterogeneous Disturbance Hypothesis. Restoration Ecology 15: 606-612. DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2007.00272.x

Werema C., 2015. Understorey bird abundance and diversity before and after a forest fire in Mangala Forest Reserve on the eastern slopes of the Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania. Scopus Journal of East African Ornithology 34: 40-46.

Wilkinson D.M., 1999. The Disturbing History of Intermediate Disturbance. Oikos 84:145-147. DOI: 10.2307/3546874


Supporting Information
| DOWNLOAD 387KB
No metrics available for this article.