Short communication: Maritime pine natural regeneration in Coastal Central Portugal: Effects of the understory composition

Keywords: Pinus pinaster, fire, competition, shrubs, invasive species


Aim of study: To study the natural dynamics of Pinus pinaster natural regeneration in a post-fire scenario in three populations of Coastal Central Portugal, with severe ecological degradation due to plant invasions, and partially affected by the 2017 wildfires.

Area of study: Three P. pinaster populations, located along a geographic gradient of about 140 km on Coastal Central Portugal: Mira, Tocha and Leira.

Material and methods: The density and establishment success of P. pinaster regeneration was studied in burnt and unburnt forest stands. Special focus was given to the effects of the cover by native and invasive species (mainly Acacia longifolia) on pine regeneration.

Main results: Regeneration values considered sustainable (over 0.3 seedlings·m-2) were recorded in all three populations in burnt and unburnt plots, where only one of the three study sites showed signs of establishment difficulty. We recorded high levels of invasion which showed a negative relationship with regeneration density.

Research highlights: The cover of invasive flora was negatively correlated with pine regeneration, while the presence of native flora showed positive relations with density and height of pine natural regeneration.


Download data is not yet available.


Balandier P, Gobin R, Prévosto B, Korboulewsky N, 2022. The contribution of understorey vegetation to ecosystem evapotranspiration in boreal and temperate forests: a literature review and analysis. Eur J For Res 141: 979-997.

Calvo L, Santalla S, Valbuena L, Marcos E, Tárrega R, Luis-Calabuig E, 2008. Post-fire natural regeneration of a Pinus pinaster forest in NW Spain. Plant Ecol 197(1): 81-90.

Cruz-Alonso V, Ruiz-Benito P, Villar-Salvador P, Rey-Benayas JM, 2019. Long-term recovery of multifunctionality in Mediterranean forests depends on restoration strategy and forest type. J Appl Ecol 56(3): 745-757.

Fernandes P, Rigolot E, 2007. The fire ecology and management of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.). For Ecol Manag 241(1): 1-13.

Gómez-Aparicio L, Zamora R, Gómez JM, Hódar JA, Castro J, Baraza E, 2004. Applying plant facilitation to forest restoration: A meta-analysis of the use of shrubs as nurse plants. Ecol Appl 14(4): 1128-1138.

Gómez-Aparicio L, Gómez JM, Zamora R, Boettinger JL, 2005. Canopy vs. soil effects of shrubs facilitating tree seedlings in Mediterranean montane ecosystems. J Veg Sci 16: 191-198.

González-Muñoz N, Costa-Tenorio M, Espigares T, 2016. Invasion of alien Acacia dealbata on Spanish Quercus robur forests: Impact on soils and vegetation. For Ecol Manag 269: 214-221.

Guignabert A, Augusto L, Delerue F, Maugard F, Gire C, Magnin C, et al., 2020. Combining partial cutting and direct seeding to overcome regeneration failures in dune forests. For Ecol Manag 476: 1-12.

De las Heras J, Moya D, Vega JA, Daskalakou E, Vallejo R, Grigoriadi N, et al., 2012. Post-fire management of serotinous pine forests. In Post-fire management and restoration of southern European Forest; Moreira F et al. (eds). pp: 148-151. Springer Science, The Netherlands.

Diário da República, 2019. Law-Decree n. 92/2019, which defines the legal regime applied to the control, detention, introduction and installation of exotic species of flora and fauna in Portugal. Diário da República n. 130/2019, Série I 2019-07-10. pp: 3428-3442.

Hernández-Serrano A, Verdú M, González-Martínez SC, Pausas JG, 2013. Fire structures pine serotiny at different scales. Am J Botany 100(12): 2349-2356.

Madrigal J, Hernando C, Guijarro M, Veja JA, Fontúrbel T, Pérez-Gorostiaga P, 2010. Smouldering fire-induced changes in a Mediterranean soil (SE Spain): Effects on germination, survival and morphological traits of 3-year-old Pinus pinaster Ait. Plant Ecol 208(2): 279-292.

Maia P, Pausas JG, Vasques A, Keizer J, 2012. Fire severity as a key factor in post-fire regeneration of Pinus pinaster (Ait.) in Central Portugal. Ann For Sci 69(4): 489-498.

Maia P, Keizer J, Vasques A, Abrantes N, Roxo L, Fernandes P, et al., 2014. Post-fire plant diversity and abundance in pine and eucalypt stands in Portugal: Effects of biogeography, topography, forest type and post-fire management. Forest Ecol Manag 334: 154-162.

Mallik AU, 2003. Conifer regeneration problems in boreal and temperate forests with Ericaceous understory: Role of disturbance, seedbed limitation, and keytsone species change. Crit Rev Plant Sci 22(3-4): 341-366.

Peñuelas J, Sardans J, Filella I, Estiarte M, Llusià J, Ogaya R, et al., 2017. Impacts of global change on mediterranean forests and their services. Forests 8: 463.

Rascher KG, Grosse-Stoltenberg A, Máguas C, Meira Neto JA, Werner C, 2011. Acacia longifolia invasion impacts vegetation structure and regeneration dynamics in open dunes and pine forests. Biol Invas 13(5): 1099-1113.

Reilly MJ, McCord MG, Brandt SM, Linowski KP, Butz RJ, Jules ES, 2020. Repeated, high-severity wildfire catalyzes invasion of non-native plant species in forests of the Klamath Mountains, northern California, USA. Biol Invas 22: 1821-1828.

Sardans J, Alonso R, Janssens IA, Carnicer J, Vereseglou S, Rillig MC, et al., 2016. Foliar and soil concentrations and stoichiometry of nitrogen and phosphorous across European Pinus sylvestris forests: Relationships with climate, N deposition and tree growth. Funct Ecol 30: 676-689.

Taboada A, Tárrega R, Marcos E, Valbuena L, Suaréz-Seoane S, Calvo L, 2017. Fire recurrence and emergency post-fire management influence seedling recruitment and growth by altering plant interactions in fire-prone ecosystems. For Eco Manag 402: 63-75.

Tapias R, Climent J, Pardos JA, Gil L, 2004. Life histories of mediterranean pines. Plant Ecol 171(1): 53-68.

Vinas A, Caudullo R, Oliveira S, De Rigo D, 2016. Pinus pinaster in Europe: distribution, habitat, usage and threats. In: European atlas of forest tree species. European Commission, pp: 128-129.

How to Cite
RodriguesD., CorticeiroS., & MaiaP. (2022). Short communication: Maritime pine natural regeneration in Coastal Central Portugal: Effects of the understory composition. Forest Systems, 31(3), eSC06.
Short communications