Skip to Main Content
Soil scarification and wildfire interactions and effects on microbial communities and carbonAuthor(s): Aida E. Jiménez Esquilín; Mary E. Stromberger; Wayne D. Shepperd
Source: Soil Science Society of America Journal. 72(1): 111-118.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
Download Publication (577.0 KB)
DescriptionNutrient availability is an important constraint on sustainable forest productivity, and it is crucial to understand the long-term effects of management practices, including soil scarification, on soil microbial communities because they store and cycle nutrients. In addition, because forests are subject to wildfires, it would be useful to understand potential interactive effects of wildfire and management practice on forest soil ecosystems. We studied the individual and combined effects of soil scarification and a subsequent wildfire on microbial community structure of a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa C. Lawson) forest soil in the central Rocky Mountains. Experimental plots were scarified by rototilling in 1981, and in 2002, some of the plots were burned during a mixed-severity wildfire. In 2005, mineral soil samples (0-10-cm depth) were collected and assayed for soil chemical properties, fungal and bacterial biomass, C mineralization potential, and microbial community fatty acid composition. Compared with undisturbed soil, soil from scarified-only plots was relatively high in pH, low in total C and organic matter (OM) concentrations, low in fungal and bacterial biomass, and enriched with Gram-positive biomarkers. Regardless of scarification treatment, soil from burned plots was relatively high in pH and extractable P, low in fungal but not bacterial biomass, and enriched with Gram-negative bacterial biomarkers. Compared with scarified-only plots, scarified-plus-burned plots had greater soil C and OM concentrations. Carbon mineralization rates were not different among the plot soils. While scarification is a positive practice for aiding seedling establishment, we found long-term effects on soil C reserves and microbial communities.
- You may send email to email@example.com 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.
CitationJimenez Esquilin, Aida E.; Stromberger, Mary E.; Shepperd, Wayne D. 2008. Soil scarification and wildfire interactions and effects on microbial communities and carbon. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 72(1): 111-118.
Keywordssoil scarification, wildfire, microbial communities, carbon reserves
- Microbial community structure and activity in a Colorado Rocky Mountain forest soil scarred by slash pile burning
- Microbial response to high severity wildfire in the southwest United States
- Large, high-severity burn patches limit fungal recovery 13 years after wildfire in a ponderosa pine forest
XML: View XML