Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): E.S. Kane; W.C. Hockaday; M.R. Turetsky; C.A. Masiello; D.W. Valentine; B.P. Finney; J.A. Badlock
    Date: 2010
    Source: Biogeochemistry. 100: 39-56
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (1.93 MB)


    There is still much uncertainty as to how wildfire affects the accumulation of burn residues (such as black carbon [BC]) in the soil, and the corresponding changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) composition in boreal forests. We investigated SOC and BC composition in black spruce forests on different landscape positions in Alaska, USA. Mean BC stocks in surface mineral soils (0.34 ± 0.09 kg C m-2) were higher than in organic soils (0.1 7 ± 0.07 kg C m-2), as determined at four sites by three different l3C Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy-based techniques. Aromatic carbon, protein, BC, and the alkyl:O-alkyl carbon ratio were higher in mineral soil than in organic soil horizons. There was no trend between mineral soil BC stocks and fire frequencies estimated from lake sediment records at four sites, and soil BC was relatively modern. A more extensive analysis (90 soil profiles) of mineral soil BC revealed that interactions among landscape position, organic layer depth, and bulk density explained most of the variance in soil BC across sites, with less soil BC occurring in relatively cold forests with deeper organic layers. We suggest that shallower organic layer depths and higher bulk densities found in warmer boreal forests are more favorable for BC production in wildfire, and more BC is integrated with mineral soil than organic horizons. Soil BC content likely reflected more recent burning conditions influenced by topography, and implications of this for SOC composition (e.g., aromaticity and protein content) are discussed.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Kane, E.S.; Hockaday, W.C.; Turetsky, M.R.; Masiello, C.A.; Valentine, D.W.; Finney, B.P.; Badlock, J.A. 2010. Topographic controls on black carbon accumulation in Alaskan black spruce forest soils: implications for organic matter dynamics. Biogeochemistry. 100: 39-56.


    Google Scholar


    alkyl carbon, aromatic carbon, black carbon, black spruce, boreal forest, carbon balance, charcoal, fire, organic soil, protein, soil

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page