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Masting and regeneration dynamics of Abies cephalonica, the Greek endemic silver fir

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 November 2019

Evangelia N. Daskalakou
Affiliation:
Institute of Mediterranean & Forest Ecosystems, Hellenic Agricultural Organization ‘DEMETER’, Terma Alkmanos str., 11528Athens, Greece
Katerina Koutsovoulou
Affiliation:
Department of Botany, Faculty of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, 15784Athens, Greece Green Fund, Ministry of Environment and Energy, Villa Kazouli, Kifisias 241, 14561Kifisia, Greece
Kostas Ioannidis
Affiliation:
Institute of Mediterranean & Forest Ecosystems, Hellenic Agricultural Organization ‘DEMETER’, Terma Alkmanos str., 11528Athens, Greece
Panagiotis P. Koulelis
Affiliation:
Institute of Mediterranean & Forest Ecosystems, Hellenic Agricultural Organization ‘DEMETER’, Terma Alkmanos str., 11528Athens, Greece
Petros Ganatsas
Affiliation:
Department of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124Thessaloniki, Greece
Costas A. Thanos
Affiliation:
Department of Botany, Faculty of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, 15784Athens, Greece
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Masting and regeneration dynamics were investigated in a long-term perspective using Abies cephalonica as a study tree species. Extensive fieldwork was implemented in Parnitha National Park, Greece, following a large-scale wildfire. Annual cone production was monitored for a 5-year period in 130 tagged trees, in 13 plots with 10 individuals each, established both within the unburned part of the forest and in surviving fragments of the burned area. In the most recent masting year, a high percentage (88%) of cone-bearing trees was recorded, along with a sizeable, average cone production (40.8 cones per tree). In the intermediate, non-masting years, the corresponding values ranged from 2% to 55% and 0.08 to 5.9 cones per tree, respectively. The reproduction process is affected by both tree density and regional climatic conditions, in particular temperature during spring of the maturation year and precipitation during spring and summer of the previous year. For the first time according to our knowledge, natural regeneration was recorded for a 4-year period, in 13 permanent transects within the monitoring plots, in relation with a masting event and the additional implications of a preceding wildfire. Highest mean density of seedlings and saplings (11.4 per m2) was observed during the first spring after masting. In the non-masting years, the corresponding value ranged from 2.1 to 2.9 per m2. Seedling survival during their first summer was considerable (30–76%) but stabilized afterwards (1–3 years) at a lower level (10–20%). The particular post-masting seedling flush was followed by an extremely high mortality rate (88.6%) and cannot represent a major recruitment event.

Type
Research Paper
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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