Assessing the Long-term Contribution of Nurse Plants to Restoration of Mediterranean Forests through Markovian Models

Siles, G., P.J. Rey, J.M. Alca_ntara and J.M. Rami_rez

Publication Date:

Based on short-term experimental data, facilitative interactions between woody plants (nurse- recruit interactions) have been described as essential for the restoration of Mediterranean forests. However, the long-term effects of nurse plants on vegetation dynamics are unknown. This study aims to project post-fire vegetation dynamics from easily retrieved data, and to assess the long-term contribution of nurse plants to forest restoration. Our Markov chain successional model is an analytical tool which can be applied rapidly and easily to determine successional trajectories for forest restoration. It allows: (i) evaluation of post-fire dynamics and identification of areas in need of intensive intervention (i.e. where secondary succession remains arrested leading to stasis in the pioneer state); (ii) assessment of the role of long-term facilitative nurse effects on restoration; and (iii) identification of species-pair combinations and functional nurse groups of value for further planting efforts.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Journal of Applied Ecology