Effects of a Canary pine forest wildfire (Tenerife, Canary Islands, summer 2007) on selected soil properties and their relationship with short- to medium-term soil water repellency .

Alexis Hernández, Natalia Rodríguez, Marcelino del Arco, Carmen Dolores Arbelo, Jesús Notario del Pino, Antonio Rodríguez-Rodríguez


Forest fires modify the soil environment, often triggering severe soil degradation. In this paper, we studied the impact of a large northern Tenerife Canariy pine forest wildfire on a set of relevant soil properties, focusing on their evolution in time and relationship with soil water repellency. To do this, soils were sampled at four sites (burned and non-burned) and several soil physical and chemical parameters were measured. The results show significant variations for soil pH, electric conductivity (CE1:5), and NH4+-N between burned and non-burned samples, whereas non-significant increases were found in burned soils for oxidizable carbon (Cox), total nitrogen (Ntot) , Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+ and K+, and soil hydrophobicity. The differences caused by the fire were no longer evident one year later. Furthermore, in one sampling site (Vitric Leptosols under low pine forest with a mixed heath/beech tree understory) a wide variation in the content of Cox and Ntot and high water repellency was observed relative to the other sites. These differences can be attributed to the composition of the understory vegetation. Significant correlations between soil hydrophobicity with CE1:5, aggregate stability and the contents of Cox, Ntot, NH4+-N, Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+ and K+ were found.
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