Fire History (1896–2013) in an Abies religiosa Forest in the Sierra Norte of Puebla, Mexico

Julián Cerano-Paredes, Dante A. Rodríguez-Trejo, José M. Iniguez, Rosalinda Cervantes-Martínez, José Villanueva-Díaz, Osvaldo Franco-Ramos
2021 Forests  
The oyamel forests, as Abies dominated forests are commonly known as, register their largest distribution (95% of their population) along the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB). Although efforts have been made to study these forests with various approaches, dendrochronology-based studies have been limited, particularly in pure Abies forests in this region. The objective of this study was to reconstruct fire regimes in an Abies religiosa forest in the Sierra Norte in the state of Puebla, Mexico.
more » ... of Puebla, Mexico. Within an area of 50-ha, we collected 40 fire-scar samples, which were processed and analyzed using dendrochronological techniques to identify 153 fire scars. The fire history was reconstructed for a period of 118 years (1896–2013), with low severity surface fires occurring mainly during in the spring (92.8%) and summer (7.2%). Over the past century, fires were frequent, with an mean fire interval (MFI) and Weibull median probability of (WMPI) of five years when considering all fire scars and less than 10 years for fires covering larger areas (fires recorded by ≥25% of samples). Extensive fires were synchronized with drought conditions based on Ring Width Indexes, Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). After 1983, we observed a change in fire frequencies attributed to regulated management. Longer fire intervals within the last several decades are likely leading to increased fuel accumulations and could potentially result in more severe fires in the future, threatening the sustainability of these forests. Based on our finding, we recommend management actions (silvicultural or prescribed fire) to reduce fuels and the risk of severe fires, particularly in the face of climatic changes.
doi:10.3390/f12060700 fatcat:aguqqujhvfgtflqvdli3fey4zy