Influence of species identity and charring conditions on fire-derived charcoal traits
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Nathalie Pluchon; Sophie C. Casetou; Paul Kardol; Michael J. Gundale; Marie-Charlotte Nilsson; David A. Wardle
Publication Year: 2015

Cataloging Information

  • Betula pendula
  • black carbon
  • boreal forest
  • boreal forests
  • char
  • charcoal
  • Charcoal Trait
  • disturbance
  • Europe
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • nitrogen
  • pH
  • phosphorus
  • Pinus sylvestris
  • pyrogenic carbon
  • pyrolysis
  • rowan
  • Scots pine
  • silver birch
  • Sorbus aucuparia
  • Sweden
  • wildfires
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: February 25, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 54303
Tall Timbers Record Number: 31977
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals - C
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.


Fire is a major disturbance worldwide, and it produces significant amounts of wood-derived charcoal. There is increasing evidence that the key properties ('traits') of charcoal vary greatly, with consequences for ecosystem processes, but how the key factors drive variability of charcoal traits, i.e., species identity and charring conditions, remain poorly understood. Here, we experimentally produced charcoal from three common boreal tree species under six charring conditions representing those encountered during boreal fires and then analyzed their structural and chemical traits. Overall, we found that species identity affected charcoal traits more than did charring conditions. Among the structural traits, density and microporosity varied among tree species, and density decreased with increasing temperature. Among the chemical traits, electrical conductivity, total nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) contents, and phosphate concentration differed among species, whereas pH, total N content, and ammonium concentration responded to charring conditions. No traits except nitrate concentration responded to the interactive effect of species identity and charring condition. Our results reveal that traits of charcoal, and potentially its ecological functions, are driven by a combination of fire behavior and tree species identity; such information is relevant for understanding ecological consequences of altered fire regimes due to the changing climate and to forest management. © 2015 The author(s). Published by NRC Research Press.

Pluchon, N., S. C. Casetou, P. Kardol, M. J. Gundale, M. C. Nilsson, and D. A. Wardle. 2015. Influence of species identity and charring conditions on fire-derived charcoal traits. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, v. 45, no. 12, p. 1669-1675. 10.1139/cjfr-2015-0076.