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PREVENTION OF FIRES ON MEDITERRANEAN FORESTS BY PRESCRIBED FIRE AND GRAZING.

Objective

THIS PROJECT PROPOSES TO STUDY PRESCRIBED FIRES FOLLOWED BY GRAZING IN FOREST, AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES ON THE TREE STAND, REDUCTION OF UNDERSTORY FUELS AND WILD-FIRE HAZARDS AND ON SOME FUNCTIONAL COMPOUNDS OF THE ECOSYSTEM.

THE REDUCTION OF WILDFIRES IS POSSIBLE BY THE REDUCTION OF UNDERSTORY FUELS. NOW, FIRE BREAKS ARE CLEARED BY MANUAL AND MECHANICAL MEANS, BUT IT IS VERY EXPENSIVE. AMONG OTHER POSSIBLE TECHNIQUES, PRESCRIBED BURNINGS ARE THE MOST ECONOMIC AND MAKE POSSIBLE REDUCTION OF UNDERSTORY FUELS IN AREAS TOO HILLY OR TOO EXTENSIVE TO BE CLEARED BY MANUAL AND MECHANICAL METHODS. MOREOVER, GRAZING MAY BE AN ECONOMIC MEAN TO CONTROL UNDERSTORY FUEL RECOVERY AFTER FIRES.

UNDER MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATES, THE LOW RATE OF THE LITTER DECOMPOSITION AND THE LOW AVAILABILITY OF SOME NUTRIENTS (MAINLY N AND P) ARE GENERALLY LIMITING FACTORS OF THE FOREST PRODUCTIVITY. BURNING AND GRAZING INTERFERE WITH THESE PROCESSES BY INCREASING MINERALIZATION, CAUSING ENERGY AND NUTRIENT LOSSES AND MODIFYING ENVIRONMENTAL AND TROPHIC CONDITIONS OF BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITY IN THE SOIL.

THEN, THE EFFECTS OF PRESCRIBED BURNING AND GRAZING ON ORGANIC MATTER DECOMPOSITION AND NUTRIENT CYCLING WILL BE INVESTIGATED. QUANTITIES OF DISAPPEARED ORGANIC MATTER, QUANTITIES OF NUTRIENTS MINERALIZED IN THE ASHES OR LOSSED BY VOLATILISATION WILL BE MEASURED DURING THE BURNINGS. AFTER FIRES, DECOMPOSITION OF THE REMAINING LITTER AND ACTIVITY OF THE DETRITIVOROUS FAUNA AND MICROFLORA WILL BE RECORDED. EFFECTS OF GRAZING WILL BE MONITORED ON THE SAME PROCESSES : TAKING OF LIVING VEGETATION, CONVERSION IN MINERAL COMPOUNDS (URINE) AND FEACES, DECOMPOSITION OF THESE FEACES.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE
Address
Route De Mende 1919
34293 Montpellier
France