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Wildfires influence on soil organic matter in an Atlantic mountainous region (NW of Spain)

AuthorsSantín Nuno, C.; Knicker, Heike ; Fernández Menéndez, S. del C.; Menéndez Duarte, R. A.; Álvarez García, M. A.
Atlantic mountainous region
Soil organic matter
Issue DateAug-2008
CitationCatena 74 (3): 286-295 (2008)
AbstractThe principal aim of this research was to determine the influence of wildfires on soil organic matter (SOM) content and composition in soils located on the northern slope of the Cantabrian Cordillera, an Atlantic mountainous region in the North West of Spain, where wildfires are frequent. Samples from soils with similar aspect, slope, elevation and vegetation characteristics, but with different wildfires histories were collected. Total organic carbon and total nitrogen contents were determined as well as the C/N ratio. Furthermore, a qualitative characterization of the soil organic carbon (SOC) was carried out by 13C variable amplitude cross polarization magic angle spinning (VACP/MAS) Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Our results show that, on the one hand, all the sampled soils can be considered important pools of carbon in this Atlantic mountainous region, especially in the heath areas. On the other hand, the fire-affected soils present higher SOM contents than their unburnt counterparts. This could be attributed to an important reaccumulation of fresh vegetal material, which is probably a consequence of the decrease of SOM decomposition rates after fire. Moreover, charred organic compounds are not found in all the burnt soils, which could be due to the long time since the last fires events took place, to different fire severities, or to different post-fire erosion processes in the studied soils.
Description10 páginas, 5 figuras, 3 tablas, 53 referencias.-- cmartin@irnase.csic.es
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2008.01.001
Appears in Collections:(IRNAS) Artículos
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