Divergent Fire Regimes in Two Contrasting Mediterranean Chestnut Forest Landscapes

Francisco Seijo*, James D.A. Millington, Robert Gray, Laura Hernández Mateo, Gabriel Sangüesa-Barreda, J. Julio Camarero

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
213 Downloads (Pure)


Humans have historically played a critical role in the management of Mediterranean-type ecosystems (MTEs) through traditional fire use. Although chestnut forests are widespread across the Mediterranean Basin, little is known about their historical fire regimes. Our goal here is to generate testable hypotheses about the drivers of fire regime dynamics in chestnut dominated ecosystems. To examine anthropogenic fire management we selected two sites in Spain that have similar biophysical characteristics but divergent levels of economic development and fire management policies. Fire regime-landscape feedbacks were characterized through a pilot dendroecological study, official fire statistics, aerial photography and forest inventory data. Our results suggest that fire incidence in both sites has increased since the pre-industrial era but fire season, fire size, and forest structure have changed to a greater extent in the more developed site. These changes are probably driven by the decline in annual anthropogenic burning of litterfall by local communities at the more developed site during the non-vegetative season.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-219
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Early online date23 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Chestnut forest ecosystems (Castanea sativa mill.)
  • Coupled human and natural systems theory
  • Dendroecology
  • Mediterranean fire ecology
  • Spain
  • Traditional ecological knowledge
  • Traditional fire knowledge


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