Prescribed fire, although having low intensity and being able to reduce the risk of wildfire may modify soil properties in the short term, with possible increases in runoff and erosion risk. Soil mulching with vegetation residues is one of the most common post-fire management strategies. Residues of fern, which is abundant on the Mediterranean forest floor, may be used to replace straw for mulching fire-affected areas. However, the effects of prescribed fires are not completely understood, and there is no data regarding the use of fern to protect soil after fire in the literature. To fill this gap, selected soil chemical parameters were analyzed, on a comparative basis, in three Mediterranean forests (pine, oak and chestnut) in Calabria (Southern Italy). These parameters were measured immediately and one year after fire in unburned, burned and not treated, and burned and mulched soils. Changes in soil chemical properties among the different treatments were significant, and the effects of the prescribed fire and mulching were dependent on the time elapsed from their application and forest species. In general, mulching was not effective in limiting the changes in the monitored soil properties compared to the pre-fire values. Each forest species showed different temporal trends in changes of soil properties.

Short-term changes in soil properties after prescribed fire and mulching with fern in Mediterranean forests

Carra B. G.;Bombino G.;Muscolo A.;Romeo F.;Zema D. A.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Prescribed fire, although having low intensity and being able to reduce the risk of wildfire may modify soil properties in the short term, with possible increases in runoff and erosion risk. Soil mulching with vegetation residues is one of the most common post-fire management strategies. Residues of fern, which is abundant on the Mediterranean forest floor, may be used to replace straw for mulching fire-affected areas. However, the effects of prescribed fires are not completely understood, and there is no data regarding the use of fern to protect soil after fire in the literature. To fill this gap, selected soil chemical parameters were analyzed, on a comparative basis, in three Mediterranean forests (pine, oak and chestnut) in Calabria (Southern Italy). These parameters were measured immediately and one year after fire in unburned, burned and not treated, and burned and mulched soils. Changes in soil chemical properties among the different treatments were significant, and the effects of the prescribed fire and mulching were dependent on the time elapsed from their application and forest species. In general, mulching was not effective in limiting the changes in the monitored soil properties compared to the pre-fire values. Each forest species showed different temporal trends in changes of soil properties.
2021
Macro-elements
Nutrients
Organic matter
Post-fire management
Vegetation cover
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/123382
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