Study Site

The study was conducted on the north slope of the Tamadaba Natural Park, Gran Canaria (28o 19' N, 16o 34' W), Canary Islands, Spain (Fig. 1). The park comprises 2,000 ha, some areas of which have been reforested with pine species including Pinus canariensis, Pinus nigra, Pinus sylvestris and Pinus pinea. P. nigra and P. sylvestris were used in small areas (just a few hectares) and show poor regeneration. P. pinea was the exotic species most widely used in reforestation, with around 500 ha planted together with Pinus canariensis from 1950 to 1955 (Pérez et al. 1994). The plots we selected for analysis were located in these areas.

The annual precipitation of the park is 600 mm but fog drip can supplement inputs (Kämmer 1974). The mean annual temperature is 16.8 °C. Frost events may occur a few days a year at higher altitude, but not in the study area. Because all the plots differ by less than 100 m in altitude, differences in average, maximum and minimum temperature are typically less than 1° C. Soils at the study site have been classified as per Haplumbrept and Xerochrept (Rodríguez 2000). Fires were formerly frequent within the Park but, as the result of increased management over the past 50 years, fire intervals have increased (Arévalo et al. 2001).

The dominant species is generally P. canariensis, although in some areas (including those selected for this study) P. pinea is now dominant. The understory, regardless of the dominant canopy species, is dominated by Cistus symphytifolius, Bystropogon origanifolius, Erica arbórea, Chamaecytisus proliferus, Micromeria benthamii, Polycarpaea aristata, Sonchus acaulis and Neotinea maculata (Pérez et al. 1994). Nomenclature follows Izquierdo et al. (2001).

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