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Fire effects on carbon and nitrogen cycling in forests of the Sierra NevadaAuthor(s): D.W. Johnson; M.E. Fenn; W.W. Miller; C.T. Hunsaker
Source: In: Bytnerowicz, Andrzej; Arbaugh, Michael; Andersen, Christian; Riebau, Allen. 2009. Wildland Fires and Air Pollution. Developments in Environmental Science 8. The Netherlands: Elsevier: p. 405-423
Publication Series: Book Chapter
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
PDF: View PDF (488.0 KB)
DescriptionFire removes substantial quantities of nitrogen (N) by volatilization, and prescribed fire, over time, can remove as much as or more N than wildfire. This lost N can be quickly made up if fire is followed by N2-fixing vegetation. Wildfire often has short-term deleterious effects on water quality because of N mobilization, but long-term fire suppression allows buildups of N-rich litter, a source of labile N to runoff waters. Prescribed fire usually has less impact on water quality than wildfire. Prescribed fire has been proposed as a management tool to mitigate N saturation (a result of chronic, excessive N deposition). However, a major limitation of this strategy is that while fire removes substantial quantities of N from the forest floor, it removes only a small fraction of the large N reservoir in the mineral soil and at the same time causes increases in soil ammonium over the short term. Periodic prescribed fire, reduced atmospheric N deposition and strategies to enhance plant and microbial N demand may all be required to reduce N-saturation symptoms in catchments exposed to long-term atmospheric N inputs.
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CitationJohnson, D.W.; Fenn, M.E.; Miller, W.W.; Hunsaker, C.T. 2009. Fire effects on carbon and nitrogen cycling in forests of the Sierra Nevada. In: Bytnerowicz, Andrzej; Arbaugh, Michael; Andersen, Christian; Riebau, Allen 2009. Wildland Fires and Air Pollution. Developments in Environmental Science 8. The Netherlands: Elsevier: p. 405-423
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