Effects of fire on soil nutrients in clearcut and whole-tree harvest sites in central Michigan
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Paul W. Adams; James R. Boyle
Publication Year: 1980

Cataloging Information

  • bigtooth aspen
  • calcium
  • clearcutting
  • fire intensity
  • forest management
  • hardwood forest
  • K - potassium
  • leaching
  • logging
  • magnesium
  • Michigan
  • nitrogen
  • northern red oak
  • nutrient cycling
  • nutrients
  • organic matter
  • phosphorus
  • Populus grandidentata
  • Quercus rubra
  • site treatments
  • slash
  • soil nutrients
  • soils
  • volatilization
  • wildfire
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 18472
Tall Timbers Record Number: 3979
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Surface-mineral soil samples from adjacent northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.)-bigtooth aspen (Populus grandidentata Michx.) sites harvested by contrasting methods were evaluated for available Ca, Mg, K, P, and total N before and after a wildfire. Abundant slash from clearcutting contributed to significant and persistent increases in Ca, Mg, K, and N following fire. Sample data grouped by variations in estimated surface burn intensity revealed no significant differences, indicating that slash windrows did not appreciably localize nutrient increases. Minimal residues from whole-tree harvest released smaller quantities of Ca, Mg, and K, and total N exhibited no significant change. Significant increases in soil Ca, Mg, K, and P at both sites occurred within a month after burning. Five months after the fire, soil Ca, Mg, K, and P at both sites generally decreased, in some cases to prefire levels. Cation leaching losses from the surface soils, monitored by porous cup lysimeters at the 1-m depth, increased within 2 months after the fire, but losses appeared to stabilize within 5 months. Leaching losses of Ca were significantly greater in the clear cut site. Although short-term soil nutrient changes following fire were generally positive, the long-term effects on site quality remain in question due to the probable net loss of organic matter and nutrients through volatilization and accelerated leaching.

Online Link(s):
Adams, Paul W.; Boyle, James R. 1980. Effects of fire on soil nutrients in clearcut and whole-tree harvest sites in central Michigan. Soil Science Society of America Journal 44(4):847-850.