Resistance of microbial and soil properties to warming treatment seven years after boreal fire
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Steven D. Allison; Krista L. McGuire; Kathleen K. Treseder
Publication Year: 2010

Cataloging Information

  • boreal forest
  • boreal forests
  • carbon
  • carbon dioxide
  • cellulose
  • climate change
  • combustion
  • decomposition
  • decomposition
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • enzymes
  • extracellular enzyme
  • fire frequency
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • fungi
  • fungi
  • nutrient cycling
  • post fire recovery
  • resins
  • soil carbon
  • soil moisture
  • soil nutrients
  • soil organisms
  • soil respiration
  • soil temperature
  • soils
  • succession
  • succession
  • temperature
  • tundra
  • warming
  • water
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: May 16, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 48827
Tall Timbers Record Number: 25054
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Not in File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, 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.


Boreal forests store a large fraction of global terrestrial carbon and are susceptible to environmental change, particularly rising temperatures and increased fire frequency. These changes have the potential to drive positive feedbacks between climate warming and the boreal carbon cycle. Because few studies have examined the warming response of boreal ecosystems recovering from fire, we established a greenhouse warming experiment near Delta Junction, Alaska, seven years after a 1999 wildfire. We hypothesized that experimental warming would increase soil CO2 efflux, stimulate nutrient mineralization, and alter the composition and function of soil fungal communities. Although our treatment resulted in 1.20ºC soil warming, we found little support for our hypothesis. Only the activities of cellulose- and chitin-degrading enzymes increased significantly by 15% and 35%, respectively, and there were no changes in soil fungal communities. Warming resulted in drier soils, but the corresponding change in soil water potential was probably not sufficient to limit microbial activity. Rather, the warming response of this soil may be constrained by depletion of labile carbon substrates resulting from combustion and elevated soil temperatures in the years after the 1999 fire. We conclude that positive feedbacks between warming and the microbial release of soil carbon are weak in boreal ecosystems lacking permafrost. Since permafrost-free soils underlie 45-60% of the boreal zone, our results should be useful for modeling the warming response during recovery from fire in a large fraction of the boreal forest. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Allison, S. D., K. L. McGuire, and K. K. Treseder. 2010. Resistance of microbial and soil properties to warming treatment seven years after boreal fire. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, v. 42, no. 10, p. 1872-1878. 10.1016/j.soilbio.2010.07.011.