Prescribed fire combined with guided herbivory can control shrub development in an Iberian heathland

Paper ID: 
Agroforestry, forest and agricultural sustainability
Published under CEST2021
Proceedings ISBN: 978-618-86292-1-9
Proceedings ISSN: 2944-9820
Álvarez-López V., Santiago-Freijanes J., Ferreiro-Domínguez N., Rigueiro-Rodríguez A., (Corresponding) Mosquera-Losada R.
The high amount of biomass fuel accumulated in Mediterranean areas due to land abandonment, combined with the effects of climate change, results in high severity fires that strongly affect local environment and social communities. Traditional fire practices and livestock grazing can be efficient tools to manage fuel loads and reduce wildfire impacts. This work is within the Open2preserve project, aimed at the evaluation of prescribed fire use combined with guided herbivory for the control of shrub growth and flammable biomass accumulation in an Iberian heathland dominated by Erica spp. The low intensity prescribed fire led to a strong reduction in the phytovolume of the whole studied area. An increase in the understory biomass in the non-grazed area was found in the first and second year of the experiment compared to the grazed area. A significant effect of grazing was observed in the phytovolume of Chamaespartium tridentatum in both years of the experiment. Moreover, although not significant, an increase in the phytovolume of Daboecia spp was observed with time in the non-grazed areas. Similarly, Agrosti curtisii appeared only in the non-grazed treatment and showed a tendency to increase with time.
Erica sp., Chamaespartium sp., grazing, horse, cattle