Skip to main content

Resource Catalog


Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Ralph E. J. Boerner; Carla Giai; Jianjun Huang; Jessica R. Miesel
Publication Date: 2008

This study assessed the first-year effect of three ecosystem restoration treatments (prescribed fire, mechanical thinning, and their combination) on soil enzyme activity, soil N transformations, and C:N ratios of soil organic matter and mineral soil in eight North American forested ecosystems. The ecosystems we studied were part of the larger Fire and Fire Surrogate (FFS) network, and all had a history of frequent fire that has been altered by almost a century of organized fire suppression. Across all eight sites there were no statistically significant effects of the three manipulative treatments on phosphatase activity or chitinase activity; in contrast, at the network-scale phenol oxidase activity was reduced by fire alone, relative to the control. There was no significant network-scale effect of the three treatments on net N mineralization or net nitrification. Soil C:N ratio increased modestly after mechanical thinning, but not after prescribed fire or the combination of fire and thinning. There was a statistically significant reduction in forest floor C:N ratio as a result of all three treatments. Ordination of the differences between the treated and control areas indicated that fire alone resulted in greater changes in phenol oxidase activity and net nitrification than did the other two treatments. Large-scale restoration treatments such as those utilized in this study produce modest proximate effects on soil microbial activity and N transformations.

Online Links
Link to this document (517 KB; full text; pdf)
Citation: Boerner Ralph E.J.; Giai, Carla; Huang, Jianjun; Miesel Jessica R. 2008. Initial effects of fire and mechanical thinning on soil enzyme activity and nitrogen transformations in eight North American forest ecosystems. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 40(12):3076-3085.

Cataloging Information

California    Eastern    Northwest    Rocky Mountain    Southern    Southwest
  • mechanical thinning
  • N - nitrogen
  • nitrification
  • soil enzyme activity
  • soils
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 7013