iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Using field and nursery treatments to establish Quercus suber seedlings in Mediterranean degraded shrubland

Julio Muñoz-Rengifo (1-2), Esteban Chirino (3)   , Vicent Cerdán (4), Jesús Martínez (4), Osvaldo Fosado (5), Alberto Vilagrosa (6)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 13, Issue 2, Pages 114-123 (2020)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3095-013
Published: Mar 26, 2020 - Copyright © 2020 SISEF

Research Articles

Cork oak (Quercus suber L.) is a suitable species for restoring Mediterranean ecosystems due to its capacity to resprout after wildfires and its economic importance for the use of cork. Several studies have focused on improving the seedling quality and abiotic conditions at the outplanting site to favour the field performance of Q. suber, however, most studies have been conducted by independently testing treatments. The aim of this study was to assess the combined effect of three techniques that focused on reforestation success with Q. suber in Mediterranean degraded shrubland: (i) a nursery technique to improve root system development, such as the use of deep containers to develop a longer tap root, combined with two field techniques such as (ii) the use of tree shelters to diminish solar radiation stress, and (iii) shrubland treatments to reduce competition for soil water and nutrients. For this purpose, 1-year-old Q. suber seedlings were grown in two containers types: a shallow container (CCS-18) and a deep container (CCL-30). Seedlings were established in a degraded shrubland at three experimental sites in the Calderona mountain range of Castellón, Spain. A factorial design was combined based on container type (CCS-18 and CCL-30), shrubland management (undisturbed shrubland and cleared shrubland in strips) and tree shelters (vegetable fibre tree shelters and no tree shelters). After 2 years of monitoring, the outplanting results indicated that using: (i) a deep container produced a longer taproot, but did not favour better survival or better field performance of seedlings; (ii) tree shelters improved the microweather conditions around seedlings, particularly by reducing excess incoming solar radiation; (iii) cleared shrubland strips reduced competition for soil water by favouring a higher water potential, better maximum photochemical PSII efficiency and higher survival rates for the seedlings established into cleared sites. The results indicate that the cleared shrubland treatment effects overlap the effects of using deep containers and tree shelters. This, in turn, reveals that shrubland clearing is the most suitable technique for favouring the introduction of a resprouter species like Q. suber into ecosystems characterized by predominantly degraded shrublands.


Deep Container, Tree Shelters, Cleared Shrubland, Ecological Restoration

Authors’ address

Julio Muñoz-Rengifo
Department of Ecology, University of Alicante, Ap. 99 03080 Alicante (Spain)
Julio Muñoz-Rengifo
Departamento Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad Estatal Amazónica, Km. 2.500 vía Napo, Puyo, Pastaza (Ecuador)
Esteban Chirino 0000-0002-3766-8595
Facultad de Ciencias Agropecuarias, Universidad Laica Eloy Alfaro de Manabí, Ciudadela Universitaria, Av. Circunvalación - Vía a San Mateo, 130802 Manta, Manabí (Ecuador)
Vicent Cerdán
Jesús Martínez
Centro para la Investigación y Experimentación Forestal (CIEF) de la Comunidad Valenciana, Av. Comarques del País Valencia, 46930 Quart de Poblet, Valencia (Spain)
Osvaldo Fosado
Instituto de Postgrado y Facultad de Ingeniería Agronómica, Universidad Técnica de Manabí, Av. José María Urbina y Che Guevara, Portoviejo, Manabí (Ecuador)
Alberto Vilagrosa 0000-0002-1432-1214
Fundación Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo (CEAM), Joint Research Unit University of Alicante - CEAM, Univ. Alicante, PO Box 99, 03080 Alicante (Spain)

Corresponding author

Esteban Chirino


Muñoz-Rengifo J, Chirino E, Cerdán V, Martínez J, Fosado O, Vilagrosa A (2020). Using field and nursery treatments to establish Quercus suber seedlings in Mediterranean degraded shrubland. iForest 13: 114-123. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3095-013

Academic Editor

Andrea Cutini

Paper history

Received: Mar 12, 2019
Accepted: Jan 23, 2020

First online: Mar 26, 2020
Publication Date: Apr 30, 2020
Publication Time: 2.10 months

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