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El surar de Pinet – a small isolated population of cork oak

October 15th, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

In early August, a lightning-ignited fire burned about 3200 ha of the municipalities of Llutxent, Gandia and Pinet (in Valencia, Spain): the Llutxent fire [1]. The area includes a small and isolated patch cork oak (Quercus suber; Fig. 1), the Pinet cork oak forest (locally known as el surar de Pinet) [2]. The Pinet forest (ca. 80 ha) was a mosaic of shrublands, oaks and pines (Pinus pinaster); and the fire burned most of the forest. The area is not the most optima for cork oak because of the climate (relatively dry for the species) and the soils (not too acidic). However, peripheral populations are typically genetically, morphologically and functionally different from the core populations, and can hold an important proportion of the species’ genetic diversity, thus their conservation is required.

Cork oak is a very good postfire resprouter from epicormic (stem) buds [3,4,5]. However, given that this population is in the edge of their environmental conditions, and the rainfall of the last year was below the long-term average, there were concerns about their postfire regeneration.

Happily 1 month after the fire there were some oak resprouting epicormically [1], and two month after the fire, basically all individuals were resprouting (Fig. 2). Because some plants may die after their initial vigorous resprouting [6], we should keep monitoring the resprouting of this population, but it seems that the population is saved. The fire temporally reduced the shrublands and killed most pines of the forest, and thus it could be an opportunity for managers to increase the cork population size using local acorns.


Fig. 1. Cork oak (Quercus suber) in the Iberian peninsula. Light grey is the species distribution; dark grey is the data from forest inventories; crosses are small isolated populations. In red is the population of Pinet (Valencia) that burned in August 2018. Map from [4]

Fig. 2. Pinet population of cork oak two months after fire with their characteristic epicormic resprouting.


[1] Llutxent 1 month postfire,

[2] Pausas J.G., Ribeiro E., Dias S.G., Pons J. & Beseler C. 2006. Regeneration of a marginal Cork oak (Quercus suber) forest in the eastern Iberian Peninsula. J. Veget. Sci. 17: 729-738. [pdf | doi | wiley ]

[3] Pausas, J.G. 1997. Resprouting of Quercus suber in NE Spain after fire. J. Veg. Sci. 8: 703-706. [doi | pdf]  

[4] Aronson J., Pereira J.S., Pausas J.G. (eds). 2009. Cork Oak Woodlands on the Edge: conservation, adaptive management, and restoration. Island Press, Washington DC. 315 pp. [The book]  

[5] Pausas J.G. & Keeley J.E. 2017. Epicormic resprouting in fire-prone ecosystems. Trends in Plant Science 22(12): 1008-1015. [doi | sciencedirect | pdf]

[6] Moreira B., Tormo J, Pausas J.G. 2012. To resprout or not to resprout: factors driving intraspecific variability in resprouting. Oikos 121: 1577-1584 [doi | pdf]

More on cork oak: posts | book | papers



  1. October 27th, 2018 at 16:21 | #1

    És una bona noticia que hagen tornat a brotar. Francament, espero que el bosc es recupere. Són una llàstima els incendis.

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