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Fire Effects on The Mediterranean Ecosystems of Israel / השפעת שריפות על מערכות אקולוגיות ים-תיכוניות בישראל

פועה קותיאל and Pua Kutiel
Horizons in Geography / אופקים בגאוגרפיה
No. 35/36 (תשנ"ב - 1992), pp. 59-67
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23702573
Page Count: 9
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Fire Effects on The Mediterranean Ecosystems of Israel / השפעת שריפות על מערכות אקולוגיות ים-תיכוניות בישראל
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Abstract

Fire intensity varies from one place to another according to plant composition, fuel load, moisture content and other factors related with topography and weather conditions during the fire. At light and moderate fire intensities, when the surface soil temperature does not exceed 300°C there is an enrichment in soil available nutrients. However, the degree of alteration of these nutrients depends on soil type and micro-habitat characteristics (beneath woody plants and nearby interspace and different aspects), on tree species burned during the fire and on leaching process. Negative phenomena are observed at temperatures above 300°C which affect the ecosystem in the short and long periods of time. At 600°C fire temperature, there is complete volatilization of the main nutrients and a significant increase in pH (from neutral to very alkaline). Runoff and erosion rates following fire are low. No significant differences in soil structure and stability were observed after fire. Most of the woody plants regenerate vegetatively from the roots. Others, such as Pinus halepensis, Cistus spp. and annual plants regenerate vigorously from seeds. The temporal advantages, i.e. light, enhancement of soil nutrients and absence of competition, increase plant diversity and stimulate seed production. This increase the genetic variability in the various populations, which with time will be expressed in the creation of new subspecies and species. These findings based on laboratory and field studies in the Mediterranean mountainous region of Israel, are reviewed briefly in the paper.

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