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Correction published on 21 June 2013, see Forests 2013, 4(2), 517.

Open AccessArticle
Forests 2012, 3(2), 398-416;

The Long-Term Effects of Wildfire and Post-Fire Vegetation on Sierra Nevada Forest Soils

Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 April 2012 / Revised: 12 June 2012 / Accepted: 13 June 2012 / Published: 20 June 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Long-Term Effects of Fire on Forest Soils)
Full-Text   |   PDF [305 KB, uploaded 20 June 2012]   |  


This paper compares carbon (C) and nutrient contents in soils (Alfisols derived from andesite), forest floor and vegetation in a former fire (1960) and an adjacent forest in the Sagehen Watershed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Soils from the former fire (now occupied predominantly by Ceanothus velutinus, a nitrogen-fixing shrub) had significantly lower contents of extractable SO42 and P (both Bray and bicarbonate) but significantly greater contents of exchangeable Ca2+ than the adjacent forested site (dominated by Pinus jeffreyii). 15N data suggested that N fixation had occurred in the former fire site, but N contents did not differ between the two sites. O horizon C and nutrient contents did not differ between the two sites, but vegetation C and nutrient contents were significantly greater in the forested than former fire site. These results contrast with those from a nearby, previous study at Little Valley Nevada, also dominated by P. jeffreyii growing on a different soil type (Entisols derived from granite). In the Little Valley study, soil C, N, Ca2+, Mg2+, and K+ contents within the former fire (1981, now also occupied predominantly by Ceanothus velutinus) were greater than in the adjacent forest (Pinus jeffreyii) but soil extractable P contents either did not differ or were greater in the former fire. We conclude that soil parent material is an indirect but strong mediator of the effects of post-fire vegetation on soils in this region, especially with respect to soil P changes, which vary substantially between andesite- and granite-derived soils. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon; long-term; N-fixation; nutrients; soils; vegetation; wildfire carbon; long-term; N-fixation; nutrients; soils; vegetation; wildfire

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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  • Correction

    A Correction was published on 21 June 2012 (PDF, 211 KB)

    The authors would like to add a co-author “Brittany G. Johnson” as sixth author in the published paper [1], doi: 10.3390/f3020398, website: After publication, we discovered that we left our one deserving graduate student author from the published paper, Brittany G. Johnson, who helped in collecting data for this paper. The authors apologize for any convenience this may have caused.


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MDPI and ACS Style

Johnson, D.W.; Walker, R.F.; McNulty, M.; Rau, B.M.; Miller, W.W. The Long-Term Effects of Wildfire and Post-Fire Vegetation on Sierra Nevada Forest Soils. Forests 2012, 3, 398-416.

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