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Forests 2014, 5(12), 2947-2966; doi:10.3390/f5122947

Effects of a Wildfire on Selected Physical, Chemical and Biochemical Soil Properties in a Pinus massoniana Forest in South China

College of Forestry, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
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Received: 1 September 2014 / Revised: 14 November 2014 / Accepted: 21 November 2014 / Published: 25 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Forest Fire)
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Abstract

Pinus massoniana forests bordering South China are often affected by wildfires. Fires cause major changes in soil properties in many forest types but little is known about the effects of fire on soil properties in these P. massoniana forests. Such knowledge is important for providing a comprehensive understanding of wildfire effects on soil patterns and for planning appropriate long-term forest management in these forests. Changes in soil physical properties, carbon, nutrients, and enzymes were investigated in a P. massoniana forest along a wildfire-induced time span consisting of an unburned soil, and soils 0, one, four, and seven years post-fire. Soil (0–10 cm) was collected from burned and unburned sites immediately and one, four, and seven years after a wildfire. The wildfire effects on soil physical and chemical properties and enzyme activities were significantly different among treatment variation, time variation, and treatment-by-time interaction. Significant short-term effects on soil physical, chemical, and biological properties were found, which resulted in a deterioration of soil physical properties by increasing soil bulk density and decreasing macropores and capillary moisture. Soil pH increased significantly in the soil one-year post-fire. Carbon, total nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), and available N and P increased significantly immediately and one year after the wildfire and decreased progressively to concentrations lower than in the unburned soil. Total potassium (K) and exchangeable K increased immediately after the wildfire and then continuously decreased along the burned time-span. Urease, acid phosphatase, and catalase activities significantly decreased compared to those in the unburned soil. In fire-prone P. massoniana forests, wildfires may significantly influence soil physical properties, carbon, nutrients, and enzyme activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon; enzymes; nutrients; physical properties; Pinus massoniana forest; soils; wildfire carbon; enzymes; nutrients; physical properties; Pinus massoniana forest; soils; wildfire
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Xue, L.; Li, Q.; Chen, H. Effects of a Wildfire on Selected Physical, Chemical and Biochemical Soil Properties in a Pinus massoniana Forest in South China. Forests 2014, 5, 2947-2966.

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