Life resumes a year after the fire in the Massif des Maures

Life resumes a year after the fire in the Massif des Maures

In this photo, we see regeneration in the crown of arboreal heather (Erica ArboriaBurned in the August 2021 fire Blaine de Maurice National Nature Reserve in var.

Fires are considered “universal herbivores”: they generally destroy unburied parts of plants Like leaves and branchesup to the trunk of trees, but sometimes also the top of roots or trunks.

Many plants tolerate “classic” low-level Mediterranean fires well. They have arrived there adaptation physiology (Secondary bud filling, water storage) and/or formally. For example, cork oaks and some conifers have a bark of a special thickness and constitution that protects the living parts.

Shoots of other plants were placed at the base of the plants to regenerate once the vegetative part was gone.

[Plus de 80 000 lecteurs font confiance à la newsletter de The Conversation pour mieux comprendre les grands enjeux du monde. Abonnez-vous aujourd’hui]

Finally, many species rely on seed rather than vegetative regeneration. Heat can help spread seeds from the cones of conifers (such as pine cones) causing them to burst and spread. Germination is also preferred in the upper part of the soil, especially in the availability of nutrients after a fire.

Thus, as the vegetation adapts, it has the ability to regenerate after some catastrophic events that form fires. For thousands of years, these fires have also served as tools for environmental management: they have carved landscapes, from clearing forests to “cleaning” forests. Planners often seek to “open up” the environment, for pastoral practices… in addition to fire retardantexactly.

The crown, a special form of regeneration in the Massif des Maures

These types of crown bonsai from fires witness earlier fires and the ability of these plants to regenerate from the stem, from semi-buried shoots that wake up after a fire, sometimes very quickly, depending on the season and the moisture in the soil.

The interior of the stem is often burned and then excavated by xylophagous organisms (fungi and insects). So these plants are grown by these cascading, concentric crowns which become witness to past fires, often forming a bean or ‘lignoner’. After years of fires, we can find hidden trunks of large, seemingly modest bushes, with a much greater age than the diameter and height of their stems would suggest.

Heathers (Erica Sp.), wired (Phyllirea spp.) as well as strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo) form the distinctive bright green crowns that characterize scorched landscapes and attract wildlife, including insects and early birds.

The consequences of the massive Massif des Maures fire are still being studied. Regeneration has begun but does not allow for prejudgement of direct and indirect effects, on animals in particular. It will take several years to assess this – in addition to the effects of fire, the effects of drought in summer and winter, due to Global Warming.

Read more: In Var, facing the fire that destroyed one of the jewels of European biodiversity

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *