Lesson Overview: In this activity, students view and take notes on a presentation. Then they either observe or conduct an experiment that illustrates how wildland fires affect the potential for soil erosion. They learn that soil burn severity varies greatly and that when fires remove the litter, duff, and plant cover on the ground, the risk of soil erosion increases.
Lesson Goal: Increase students’ understanding of the effects of wildland fire on soil properties and the likelihood of erosion after fire. Before beginning this lesson, watch the video demonstration of precipitation’s impact on bare soil versus vegetation-covered soil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im4HVXMGI68. Decide if you want to do the demonstration in class or just view the video. If you decide to do the demonstration in class, you need a container containing young grass stems that were started from seed 2-4 weeks before. You may be able to use a cut piece of sod instead.
- Students understand how fires affect the soil.
- Students understand that the effects of fire on soils are variable.
- Students understand that if fires consume the litter, duff, and plant cover on the ground, this increases the chances of soil erosion