From the Conclusions (p.212) ... 'The evaluation of the fire stimulation hypothesis leads to several conclusions. First, the dynamics of C in soils and ecosystems of the boreal zone are clearly important to the global C cycle. Second, although organic matter's decomposition is relatively slow in boreal soils and storage of soil C relatively large, the ecological processes that control C turnover are notable dynamic, especially due to the periodic role of wildfires. Third, fires drastically alter many of the factors controlling soil C storage and microbial decomposition of soil C. Soil temperature, thickness of the biologically active layer, and nutrient availability are all changed by fire. Soil temperature and the depth of the biologically active soil zone may be greatly increased for more than a decade following fire. And fourth, heterotrophic microbial activity in burned sites can be hypothesized to be greatly enhanced following fire. Fire-stimulated microbial respiration in the postburn environment may transfer as much terrestrial C to the atmosphere as that due to wildfire's combustion itself.' © 2000 Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.