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Keywords:

  • Disturbance;
  • Fire recurrence;
  • Functional group;
  • Gap modelling;
  • Life form;
  • Spain

Abstract. In the Mediterranean basin, the climate is predicted to be warmer and effectively drier, leading to changes in fuel conditions and fire regime. Land abandonment in the Mediterranean basin is also changing the fire regime through the increase in fuel loads. In the present study, two simulation models of vegetation dynamics were tested in order to predict changes in plant functional types due to changes in fire recurrence in eastern Spain. The two modelling approaches are the FATE-model (based on vital attributes) and the gap model BROLLA (based on the gap-phase theory). The models were arranged to simulate four functional types, based mainly on their regenerative strategies after disturbance: Quercus (resprouter), Pinus (non-resprouter with serotinous cones), Erica (resprouter), and Cistus (non-resprouter with germination stimulated by fire). The simulation results suggested a decrease in Quercus abundance, an increase in Cistus and Erica, and a maximum of Pinus at intermediate recurrence scenarios. Despite their different approaches, both models predicted a similar response to increased fire recurrence, and the results were consistent with field observations.