Ecological - Second Order
Recovery after fire
Research about soil hydrology after wildfire has widely investigated the impacts of many post-fire management strategies on ecosystems with different characteristics. However, despite this ample literature, clear guidelines about the effectiveness and feasibility of the different restoration techniques in environmental contexts showing variable responses still lack. Furthermore, post-fire hydrological modelling is based on mere adaptations of existing models, which often fail to simulate with accuracy the changes in soil hydrology after fire. After a short review about the effects of wildfire on hydrological processes, this study aims to propose an updated overview of the existing post-fire management techniques at both hillslope (afforestation and seeding, mulching, salvage logging, erosion barriers, soil preparation and other novel techniques) and channel (check dams) scales. Moreover, the results of the most recent studies analysing the feasibility of common hydrological models in predicting runoff and soil erosion are analyzed. Most studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of post-fire management techniques, but some uncertainty remains regarding the opportunity of natural recovering or implementation of soil and vegetation restoration. The optimal solution in fire-affected areas may be a combination of actions (at hillslope and channel scales), whose effectiveness should be evaluated on the watershed scale. The existing hydrological models should be specifically adapted to burned conditions with reliable simulation of soil changes due to fire. Modelling experiences with focus on the effects of post-fire management actions are needed.