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Open Access item Long- term effects of fire and three fire-fighting chemicals on a soil-plant system.

Authors:Couto-Vázquez, A.
García-Marco, S.
González-Prieto, S.J.
Keywords:flame retardants, δ 15N, macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients, shrubs, trees
Issue Date:2011
Publisher:Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (Australia)
Citation:International Journal of Wildland Fire 20: 856-865 (2011)
Abstract:The impacts of fire and fire-fighting chemicals (FFC) on soil properties and the soil-plant system were evaluated five years after treatment application. Unburnt soils (US) were compared with burnt soils treated with water alone (BS) or with foaming agent (BS+Fo), Firesorb polymer (BS+Fi), or ammonium polyphosphate (BS+Ap). Soils (0-2 cm depth) and foliar material (Ulex micranthus, Pterospartum tridentatum, Erica umbellata and Pinus pinaster) were analysed for total-C, total-N, δ 15N, nutrients (soil-available; plant-total), pH and inorganic-N (soils) and vegetation cover and height. No long-term effects of FFC on soil properties were found except for pH (BS+Fo > BS+Ap), inorganic-N and P (BS+Ap > other treatments). BS+Ap plants usually showed higher values of δ 15N, N, P and Na, but less K. Soil coverage by Pterospartum and Ulex was higher in BS+Ap than in other treatments, while the opposite was observed for Erica; shrubs were always taller in BS+Ap. After 3 years of growth, the size of pine seedlings followed the order BS+Ap > US > other treatments. Foliar N and P, scrub regeneration and growth of pines showed the long-term fertilizing effect of ammonium polyphosphate, although the second highest pine mortality was found in the BS+Ap treatment. The foaming agent did not affect vegetation cover, and Firesorb had no noticeable effect on shrubs but the highest pine mortality.
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