Combined effects of altitude, fire and biotic interactions on the regeneration of subtropical mountain forest species in Central Argentina

Project: Research

Project participants

  • von Wehrden, Henrik (Project manager, academic)
  • Hensen, Isabell (Project manager, academic)
  • Renison, Daniel (Partner)
  • Marcora, Paula Ines (Project manager, academic)


Climate change is predicted to indirectly increase the occurrence of extreme disturbances such as wildfires. Global evidence indicates that rising temperatures and more pronounced drought events, together with changes in land-use, will exacerbate both fire frequency and fire intensity in many ecosystems, leading to changes in associated vegetation structure, species composition and ecosystem functioning. Our project addresses the questions of how environmental stress and disturbance affect post-fire regeneration of native mountain tree and scrub species in subtropical Central Argentina across an elevational gradient, and how responses of woody species are mediated by biotic interactions and local adaptation. We take advantage of the occurrence of a high-intensity, crown mega-fire that spread across an elevational gradient of 1600 m in the Córdoba mountains in 2013, and we combine observational and manipulative experimental studies to shed light on the interplay of climate change, livestock impact and plant-plant interactions on the responses of subtropical forest species to post-fire environments. Our integrative approach, which joins an observational study along opposing gradients of temperature and moisture with field experiments to produce a dynamic model, will substantially enhance our understanding of species responses to climate warming and to post-fire disturbances.