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Previous fire occurrence, but not fire recurrence, modulates the effect of charcoal and ash on soil C and N dynamics in Pinus pinaster Aiton forests

  • Autori: Albert-Belda E.; Hinojosa M.B.; Laudicina V.A.; Garcia-Ruiz R.; Perez B.; Moreno J.M.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Understanding the effects of fire history on soil processes is key to characterise their resistance and resilience under future fire events. Wildfires produce pyrogenic carbonaceous material (PCM) that is incorporated into the soil, playing a critical role in the global carbon (C) cycle, but its interactions with soil processes are poorly understood. We evaluated if the previous occurrence of wildfires modulates the dynamic of soil C and nitrogen (N) and microbial community by soil ester linked fatty acids, after a new simulated low-medium intensity fire. Soils with a different fire history (none, one, two or three fires) were heat-shocked and amended with charcoal and/or ash derived from Pinus pinaster. Soil C and N mineralization rates were measured under controlled conditions, with burned soils showing lower values than unburned (without fire for more than sixty years). In general, no effects of fire recurrence were observed for any of the studied variables. Microbial biomass was lower in burned, with a clear dominance of Gram-positive bacteria in these soils. PCM amendments increased cumulative carbon dioxide (CO2) production only in previously burned soils, especially when ash was added. This contrasted response to PCM between burned and unburned soils in CO2 production could be related to the effect of the previous wildfire history on soil microorganisms. In burned soils some microorganisms might have been adapted to the resulting conditions after a new fire event. Burned soils showed a significant positive priming effect after PCM amendment, mainly ash, probably due to an increased pH and phosphorous availability. Our results reveal the role of different PCMs as drivers of C and N mineralization processes in burned soils when a new fire occurs. This is relevant for improving models that evaluate the net impact of fire in C cycling and to reduce uncertainties under future changing fire regimes scenarios.