Management for forest fire prevention
The main purposes of thinning dense pine forests are the prevention of fires by reducing the fuel load and its continuity, and to improve pine regeneration by eliminating the competition between different species. As a result, the quality of the plants is improved and the amount of dead or sick plants is reduced, which is essential to ensure a healthy forest. This also leads to a higher resistance to pests which in turn again decreases the risk of fire. Vegetation removal produces fresh vegetation growth, therefore more diverse and nutritious fodder is provided to animals in the cleared areas.
On average the forest is thinned until reaching a density of 800-1200 trees/ha. Dead or sick plants and some fire-prone shrubs are removed, whereas some species are kept to promote a more fire-resistant vegetation composition. Part of the tree and shrub residues is used to cover the soil as mulch, which results in ecological benefits, such as increasing soil moisture, erosion prevention, enhancement of nutrient cycling.
Note: For this SLM technology case, the SPI report on Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change, refers to: Jucker, M., Liniger, H., Valdecantos, A., and Schwilch, G., 2016. Impacts of Land Management on the Resilience of Mediterranean Dry Forests to Fire. Sustainability, 8, 981: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su8100981.