skip to main content


Title: Does the presence of large down wood at the time of a forest fire impact soil recovery?

Fire may remove or create dead wood aboveground, but it is less clear how high severity burning of soils affects belowground microbial communities and soil processes, and for how long. Here, we investigated soil fungal and bacterial communities and biogeochemical responses of severely burned red soil and less severely burned black soil from a burned forest on the eastern slope of the Cascade Range in Oregon. We examined the effects of burn severity on soil nutrients and microbial communi- ties for 14 years after wildfire. Soil nutrients were significantly reduced in red soils. Soil fungi and bac teria, assessed with molecular methods, steadily colonized both burn severities and soil biodiversity increased throughout the study showing that microbial communities seem to have the capacity to quickly adjust to extreme disturbances. Although richness did not vary by soil type, the fungal and bacterial community compositions varied with burn severity. This difference was greatest in the early time points following the fire and decreased with time. But, nutrient-limited conditions of red soils were detected for four years after the wildfire and raise concern about soil productivity at these sites.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Forestry Sciences Lab.
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Biosciences Division
  3. Pacific Analytics LLC, Scio, OR (United States)
  4. Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States). Dept. of Crop and Soil Science
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Forest Ecology and Management
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 391; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0378-1127
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; wildfire; soil burn severity; soil fungi; soil bacteria; soil chemical, biochemical, and physics properties
OSTI Identifier: