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Forests 2012, 3(2), 353-369; doi:10.3390/f3020353
Article

Long and Short-Term Effects of Fire on Soil Charcoal of a Conifer Forest in Southwest Oregon

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Received: 1 May 2012 / Revised: 7 June 2012 / Accepted: 13 June 2012 / Published: 19 June 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Long-Term Effects of Fire on Forest Soils)
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Abstract

In 2002, the Biscuit Wildfire burned a portion of the previously established, replicated conifer unthinned and thinned experimental units of the Siskiyou Long-Term Ecosystem Productivity (LTEP) experiment, southwest Oregon. Charcoal C in pre and post-fire O horizon and mineral soil was quantified by physical separation and a peroxide-acid digestion method. The abrupt, short-term fire event caused O horizon charcoal C to increase by a factor of ten to >200 kg C ha−1. The thinned wildfire treatment produced less charcoal C than unthinned wildfire and thinned prescribed fire treatments. The charcoal formation rate was 1 to 8% of woody fuels consumed, and this percentage was negatively related to woody fuels consumed, resulting in less charcoal formation with greater fire severity. Charcoal C averaged 2000 kg ha−1 in 0–3 cm mineral soil and may have decreased as a result of fire, coincident with convective or erosive loss of mineral soil. Charcoal C in 3–15 cm mineral soil was stable at 5500 kg C ha−1. Long-term soil C sequestration in the Siskiyou LTEP soils is greatly influenced by the contribution of charcoal C, which makes up 20% of mineral soil organic C. This research reiterates the importance of fire to soil C in a southwestern Oregon coniferous forest ecosystem.
Keywords: Biscuit Wildfire; black carbon; charcoal; wildfire; peroxide-acid digestion; pre- and post-fire measurement; soil carbon; soil change Biscuit Wildfire; black carbon; charcoal; wildfire; peroxide-acid digestion; pre- and post-fire measurement; soil carbon; soil change
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Pingree, M.R.A.; Homann, P.S.; Morrissette, B.; Darbyshire, R. Long and Short-Term Effects of Fire on Soil Charcoal of a Conifer Forest in Southwest Oregon. Forests 2012, 3, 353-369.

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