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Open AccessArticle

Immediate Changes in Organic Matter and Plant Available Nutrients of Haplic Luvisol Soils Following Different Experimental Burning Intensities in Damak Forest, Hungary

1
Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Aberystwyth, Wales SY23 3DB, UK
2
Department of Soil & Water Resources, Hellenic Agricultural Organization (HAO) “Demeter” (former NAGREF), 1 Theofrastou St., 41335 Larissa, Greece
3
Biology Program, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Universidad del Rosario, Carrera 26 # 63B-48, Bogotá 111221, Colombia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(5), 453; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050453
Received: 3 May 2019 / Revised: 20 May 2019 / Accepted: 23 May 2019 / Published: 24 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrient Cycling in Forest Ecosystems)
One of the major pedological changes produced by wildfires is the drastic modification of forest soil systems properties. To our knowledge, large research gaps are currently present concerning the effect of such fires on forest Haplic Luvisols soils in Central Europe. In this study, the effects of experimental fires on soil organic matter and chemical properties at different burning intensities in a Central European forest were examined. The study was conducted at Damak Forest, in Hungary, ecosystem dominated by deciduous broadleaf trees, including the rare Hungarian oak Quercus frainetto Ten. The experimental fires were carried out in nine different plots on Haplic Luvisol soils transferred from Damak Forest to the burning site. Three types of fuel load were collected from the forest: litter layer, understorey and overstorey. Groups of three plots were burned at low (litter layer), medium intensity (litter and understorey) and high intensity (litter, understorey and overstorey). Pre-fire and post-fire soil samples were taken from each plot, analysed in the laboratory and statistically compared. Key plant nutrients of organic matter, carbon, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus were analysed from each sample. No significant differences in soil organic matter and carbon between pre- and post-fire samples were observed, but high intensity fires did increase soil pH significantly. Calcium, magnesium and phosphorus availability increased significantly at all fire intensity levels. Soil potassium levels significantly decreased (ca. 50%) for all intensity treatments, in contrast to most literature. Potassium is a key nutrient for ion transport in plants, and any loss of this nutrient from the soil could have significant effects on local agricultural production. Overall, our findings provide evidence that support the maintaining of the current Hungarian fire prevention policy. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil properties; experimental fires; nutrients; UV-spectroscopy analysis; thermal infrared thermometer soil properties; experimental fires; nutrients; UV-spectroscopy analysis; thermal infrared thermometer
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Bridges, J.M.; Petropoulos, G.P.; Clerici, N. Immediate Changes in Organic Matter and Plant Available Nutrients of Haplic Luvisol Soils Following Different Experimental Burning Intensities in Damak Forest, Hungary. Forests 2019, 10, 453.

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