Soils of Mediterranean forests can be severely degraded due to wildfire. However, post-fire management techniques, such as soil mulching with vegetal residues, can limit degradation and increase functionality of burned soils. The ef-fects of post-fire mulching on soil functionality have been little studied in Mediterranean forests, and it is still unclear whether the application of straw or wood residues is beneficial. This study explores the changes in important soil chemical and biochemical properties in a pine forest of Central Eastern Spain after a wildfire and post-fire mulching with straw or wood chips. Only basal soil respiration (BSR), dehydrogenase activity (DHA), pH and water field capac-ity (WFC) significantly changed after the fire and mulching. In contrast, the other enzymatic activities -urease (UA), alkaline phosphatase (Alk-PA) and beta-glucosidase (BGA), - total organic carbon (TOC) and electrical conductivity (EC) were not influenced by these soil disturbances. Time from fire and soil conditions (due to burning and manage-ment) were significant variability factors for BSR, pH, BGA, UA, TOC, EC. Mulching increased BSR compared to burned areas, especially in soils with straw (+30 %), thanks to addition of fresh organic residues, quickly incorporated in the soil. Soil pH showed a low variability among the four soil conditions, and TOC was higher in mulched soils (on average + 20% compared to the burned soils), and this was correlated to the increased BSR. The role of mulching was essential with reference to WFC, as the post-fire management limited its reduction after the fire (on average from -30 % to -20 %). Finally, the Principal Component Analysis coupled to the Analytical Hierarchical Cluster Analysis confirmed the significant influence of the post-fire management on some enzymatic activities, although a sharp discrimination among the four soil conditions was only evident between unburned and burned sites, regardless of the management. Overall, it has been shown that mulching promotes conservation of fragile Mediterranean soils, indicating its effective-ness at preserving soil functionality in areas affected by forest fires.

Short-term effects of post-fire soil mulching with wheat straw and wood chips on the enzymatic activities in a Mediterranean pine forest

Zema, Demetrio Antonio
;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Soils of Mediterranean forests can be severely degraded due to wildfire. However, post-fire management techniques, such as soil mulching with vegetal residues, can limit degradation and increase functionality of burned soils. The ef-fects of post-fire mulching on soil functionality have been little studied in Mediterranean forests, and it is still unclear whether the application of straw or wood residues is beneficial. This study explores the changes in important soil chemical and biochemical properties in a pine forest of Central Eastern Spain after a wildfire and post-fire mulching with straw or wood chips. Only basal soil respiration (BSR), dehydrogenase activity (DHA), pH and water field capac-ity (WFC) significantly changed after the fire and mulching. In contrast, the other enzymatic activities -urease (UA), alkaline phosphatase (Alk-PA) and beta-glucosidase (BGA), - total organic carbon (TOC) and electrical conductivity (EC) were not influenced by these soil disturbances. Time from fire and soil conditions (due to burning and manage-ment) were significant variability factors for BSR, pH, BGA, UA, TOC, EC. Mulching increased BSR compared to burned areas, especially in soils with straw (+30 %), thanks to addition of fresh organic residues, quickly incorporated in the soil. Soil pH showed a low variability among the four soil conditions, and TOC was higher in mulched soils (on average + 20% compared to the burned soils), and this was correlated to the increased BSR. The role of mulching was essential with reference to WFC, as the post-fire management limited its reduction after the fire (on average from -30 % to -20 %). Finally, the Principal Component Analysis coupled to the Analytical Hierarchical Cluster Analysis confirmed the significant influence of the post-fire management on some enzymatic activities, although a sharp discrimination among the four soil conditions was only evident between unburned and burned sites, regardless of the management. Overall, it has been shown that mulching promotes conservation of fragile Mediterranean soils, indicating its effective-ness at preserving soil functionality in areas affected by forest fires.
2023
Chemical properties
Enzymatic activities
Post-fire management
Soil respiration
Wildfire
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/141560
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