Soil microbial biomass, abundance, and diversity in a Japanese red pine forest: first year after fire

Journal of Forest Research (Impact Factor: 0.84). 06/2006; 11(3):165-173. DOI: 10.1007/s10310-005-0201-8

ABSTRACT This study was conducted to determine the microbial biomass carbon and abundance and diversity of soil microorganisms immediately
after the occurrence of fire in a Japanese red pine forest, and to determine the pattern of microbial recovery within the
first year after fire. The effects of fire at three slope positions were also determined. Three plots in each of the burnt
and unburnt areas, measuring 10 × 10 m, were established. The first plot was located at the valley bottom, the second plot
was located at the middle slope, and the third plot was located at the ridge. Analysis showed that for all parameters studied,
the three plots in the unburnt area did not differ significantly and so they were treated as one control plot. The microbial
biomass, abundance, and diversity structure in the unburnt and burnt plots showed significant differences. The unburnt area
had the highest biomass carbon, abundance, and diversity, followed by the valley bottom, the middle slope, and then the ridge
in the burnt area, and significant differences in the burnt plots were found between the valley bottom, the middle slope,
and the ridge. The microbial diversity in the burnt area differed from that of the unburnt area, the microbial diversity being
significantly lower in the burnt area, and the ridge was shown to have been the most affected by fire.

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    ABSTRACT: Wildfires are the main cause of forests and understory destruction in Mediterranean areas. One of the most dramatic consequences is the perturbation of carbon fluxes. A high percentage of the CO2 emitted by the ecosystem after a wildfire is due to soil respiration, which represents the most important uncertainty in the global carbon cycle. In this study we have quantified the soil respiration and its seasonal variability in reforested pine forests in the National and Natural Park of Sierra Nevada which were burned in September of 2005. Measurement campaigns were carried out along two years in two experimental plots at different altitudinal levels (1500 and 2200 m a.s.l.), in which three post-fire silvicultural treatments of burned wood were established: 1) "Non-Intervention" (NI), leaving all of the burnt trees standing. 2) "Cut plus Lopping" (CL), a treatment where most of the trees were cut and felled, with the main branches also lopped off, but leaving all the cut biomass in situ covering partially the ground surface 3) "Salvage Logging" (SL), all trees were cut and the trunks and branches were removed. Soil respiration was highly determined by the effects derived of the altitudinal level, with the highest values at the lowest altitude. The seasonal precipitation regime had also a key role. Soil respiration kept a basal level during the summer drought, during this period the response to the altitudinal level and post-fire treatments were reduced. On the other hand, soil respiration boosted after rain events, when the differences between treatments became more pronounced. In general, especially under these conditions of absence of water limitation, the post-fire burnt wood treatment with the highest CO2 fluxes was that in which all the burnt wood biomass remained covering partially the soil surface ("Cut plus Lopping") while the lowest values were registered in the treatment in which the soil was bared ("Salvage Logging"). Results of this study are especially important for the management of forest areas affected by wildfires, now that they offer key information about the influence of the forest intervention related to the burnt wood after fires in the carbon cycle and about the soil capacity of CO2 sequestration.
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    ABSTRACT: Aims Areas affected by wildfire comprise spatially complex mosaics of burned patches in which a wide range of burn severities coexist. Rapid diagnosis of the different levels of soil burn severity and their extents is essential for designing emergency post-fire rehabilitation treatments. The main objective of this study was to determine whether visual signs of soil burn severity levels are related to changes in soil chemical and microbial properties immediately after fire. Methods Eight areas affected by wildfires in NW Spain were selected immediately after fire, and soil chemical and biological properties (pH, extractable Ca, K, Mg and P, SOC, total N, δ13C, basal soil respiration, Cmic, phosphatase activity, extractable NH4 + and NO3 −, ammonification and nitrification rates and potential N mineralization) were analysed in relation to five levels of soil burn severity (0: Unburned; 1: Oa layer partially or totally intact; 2: Oa layer totally charred; 3: Bare soil and soil structure unaffected; 4: Bare soil and soil structure affected; 5: Bare soil and surface soil structure and colour altered). Results The five visually assessed levels of soil burn severity adequately reflected changes in SOC, pH, and phosphatase activity, which varied gradually with increasing soil burn severity. However, alterations in certain indicators related to the soil organic quality (C/N, Cmic/SOC, qCO2, δ13C) were only detected in the most severely burned areas. Discriminant analysis revealed that the best combination of variables was acid phosphatase activity, SOC and pH, which correctly classified between 64 and 76 % of samples, depending on the levels of soil burn severity considered. Conclusions The results showed that the proposed soil burn severity categories may be useful for indicating the degree of degradation of important soil chemical and microbiological properties in sites similar to the study area. This, in combination with other factors, will allow prioritization of areas for rehabilitation.
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    ABSTRACT: • Context In July 2005, a wildfire occurred in windthrown spruce forests in High Tatra Mountains and damaged roughly 229 ha of previously clear-cut area. • Aims The present study focuses on assessing the influence of fire disturbance upon collembolan communities and compares the subsequent development of the model communities at burnt and unburnt stands 2 years after fire disturbance. • Methods Three different treatments were selected for the study: REF stands—intact forest stands; EXT stands—clear-cut windthrown stands; and FIR stands—clear-cut windthrown stands subsequently damaged by wildfire. The study of soil microarthropods was carried out in three stands of each treatment, from soil samples taken in April and September of 2007. For statistical evaluation of results repeated measure analysis of variance and cluster analysis with indicator values were used. • Results Total material comprised of 3,632 specimens with 56 collembolan species identified. The highest Collembola abundance means were recorded in FIR stands, with the same parameter being significantly lower in REF and EXT stands. The mathematical methods demonstrated clear differences in the collembolan communities between the different treatments studied. • Conclusion The present study showed that natural wildfire may increase abundance and species richness of soil Collembola in mountain spruce forests previously damaged by windthrow.
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