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Long and Short-Term Effects of Fire on Soil Charcoal of a Conifer Forest in Southwest Oregon
Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225, USA
Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, USDA Forest Service, Baker City, OR 97814, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 May 2012; in revised form: 7 June 2012 / Accepted: 13 June 2012 / Published: 19 June 2012
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
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MDPI and ACS Style
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.
Pingree MRA, Homann PS, Morrissette B, Darbyshire R. Long and Short-Term Effects of Fire on Soil Charcoal of a Conifer Forest in Southwest Oregon. Forests. 2012; 3(2):353-369.
Pingree, Melissa R. A.; Homann, Peter S.; Morrissette, Brett; Darbyshire, Robyn. 2012. "Long and Short-Term Effects of Fire on Soil Charcoal of a Conifer Forest in Southwest Oregon." Forests 3, no. 2: 353-369.