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Title: Impacts of Fire and Fire Surrogate treatments on forest soil properties: a meta-analytical approach

Author: Boerner, R.E.J.; Huang, J.; Hart, S.C.;

Date: 2009

Source: Journal - Ecological Applications

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)


The soils underlying the 12 Fire and Fire Surrogates Network include six soil
orders and
7.1 in pH, and exhibited ranges of twofold in bulk density, fourfold in soil organic C (SOC)
content, 10-fold in total inorganic N (TIN), and 200–1000-fold in extractable Ca and K.
Nonmetric multidimensional (NMS) ordination of pretreatment soil conditions arrayed the
FFS sites along gradients of pH/base cation status, net N transformation rates, bulk density,
and SOC. At the network scale, mineral soil exposure was significantly greater in fire-only
(mean of 9.2
first posttreatment year, and this persisted through the later sampling year (second through
fourth year, depending on site) in the fire-only treatment (fire 4.1
density was not affected significantly at the network scale. TIN concentrations during the first
posttreatment year increased after all three manipulative treatments, but this effect did not
persist to the later sampling year. Neither SOC content nor soil C:N ratio was affected by any
of the treatments at the network scale. At the individual site scale, the combined mechanical

fire treatment produced more significant site 3 treatment 3 year effects than did the fire-only
or mechanical-only treatments, though in most cases even the statistically significant
differences produced by the manipulative treatments were modest in magnitude. Ordination
of first-year standardized effect sizes produced no discernable separation of the three
manipulative treatments but did separate the three sites with the greatest fire severity (based on
proportional fuel consumption) from the majority of the network sites, with changes in pH,
TIN, SOC content, and soil C:N ratio correlating most strongly with this separation.
Ordination of the effect sizes from the later sampling year produced somewhat clearer
separation of treatments than did the first-year ordination, though fewer sites were represented
in this second ordination. Overall, the network-wide effects of the FFS treatments on soil
properties appear to have been modest and transient.

Keywords: carbon, forest soil, mechanical treatment, meta-analysis, nitrogen, prescribed fire.

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Boerner, R.E.J., Huang, J., Hart, S.C. 2009. Impacts of Fire and Fire Surrogate treatments on forest soil properties: a meta-analytical approach. Ecological Applications 19: 338–358.


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