Castro, J., R. Zamora, J.A. Hodar and J.M, Gomez
Common techniques currently used for afforestation in the Mediterranean basin consider the pre-existing vegetation (mainly shrubs) as a source of competition for trees, and consequently it is generally eliminated before planting. Nevertheless, it has been demonstrated that woody plants can facilitate the establishment of understory seedlings in environments that, like the Mediterranean area, are characterized by a pronounced dry season. In this study, we experimentally analyze the usefulness of shrubs as nurse plants for afforestation of two native conifers, Pinus sylvestris L. (Scots pine) and Pinus nigra Arnold (black pine). The results show that the use of shrubs as nurse plants is a technique that offers both economic and ecological advantages, in terms of savings in labor and plant material and reduced and even negligible impact on the pre-existing vegetation.