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Wildfire efects on soil organic matter of a typical Mediterranean forest.

AutorJiménez González, M. A.; Rosa Arranz, José M. de la ; Jiménez Morillo, N. T. ; González-Pérez, José Antonio ; Almendros Martín, Gonzalo ; Knicker, Heike ; González-Vila, Francisco Javier
Palabras claveWildfire
Analytical pyrolysis
Fecha de publicación2015
EditorUniversidade de Coimbra
Citación©RISCOS – Associação Portuguesa de Riscos, Prevenção e Segurança
ResumenForest fires are a frequent phenomenon in Mediterranean ecosystems leading to the alteration of soil physical and chemical properties. In particular are well documented the fire induced changes in the composition and properties of soil organic matter (SOM). In addition, post fire soil erosion is usually a dramatic consequence of the above transformations, demanding the implementation of urgent restoration strategies, which needs to be scheduled and monitored. Taking the above considerations in mind, in this communication we report data on the alteration of fire affected soil properties along a time gradient. In August 2012, a wildfire affected a pine forest area (90 ha) in Montellano (Seville, SW Spain; longitude 37.00 º, latitude -5.56 º). Soil types in this area are Rendzic Leptosols and Calcaric Haplic Regosols. Soil samples were collected 1 month and 25 months after the wildfire. Control samples (unaffected by fire) were collected in an adjacent area. Branches, stems, bushes and plant residues on the fire-affected area were removed 16 months after the fire using heavy machinery as part of the post-fire management. Soil samples were analysed by elemental analysis (C, N and OC), 13C NMR spectroscopy and analytical pyrolysis (Py-GC/MS). The results obtained showed that in the burnt soils taken 2 years after the fire, the total organic carbon (TOC) content decreased drastically compared with the pre-fire status. Similarly, the water holding capacity (WHC) of the burnt soils were reduced, which is probably due to their loss of OC. Heating increased soil pH. Two years after fire this increase of the soil pH was transferred to deeper soil horizons ( ≥10 cm), which is probably related with the leaching of ashes. Concerning the analytical pyrolysis results, pyrochromatograms of the burnt soils taken two years after the fire were relatively enriched in aromatic compounds, whereas fatty acids and other lipids were reduced. The 13C NMR spectroscopy confirmed the increase in the aromaticity of the burnt SOM. It is assumed that these alterations on the SOM composition are contributing to an enhancement of the risk of soil erosion. Therefore in addition to the alteration of soil properties, it is expected an intensification of soil losses due to erosion. It is currently scheduled the monitoring of erosion risk in the fire affected area during the next years.
DescripciónI Seminar of the Forest Fires - Soils Network and I Ibero-Afro-American Symposium of Risks “Risks, Forest Fires and Territory” Faro, 4th, 5th and 6th of November of 2014.-- Panel 1: Forest Fires and Effects on Soils
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