Medium-term impact of post-fire emergency rehabilitation techniques on a shrubland ecosystem in Galicia (NW Spain)

Montserrat Díaz Raviña, Alba Lombao Vázquez, Ana Isabel Barreiro Buján, Angela Martín Jiménez, Tarsy Carballas Fernández


The aim of this work was to study the effectiveness of two post-fire emergence rehabilitation techniques (seeding and mulching) for reducing soil erosion as well as their effects on the soil quality; therefore in the field, experimental plots of unburnt soil, burnt soil, burnt soil plus seeding and burnt soil plus mulching were established. Soil samples were collected from the A horizon and a wide range of physical, chemical and biological soil properties were analyzed to evaluate soil quality. The effect of fire on the vegetation cover was observed after one year and changes in soil properties persisted even after four years. The phospholipid fatty acids pattern showed that in the medium-term (8-48 months after the fire), the fire may modify the soil microbial communities by altering the plant community via plant-induced changes in the soil environment. No effect of seeding or mulching on the vegetation cover was observed. The mean efficiency in preventing soil erosion between 8 and 12 months after the fire and the application of the treatments was 11% for seeding and 65% for mulching. These stabilization treatments had a minor influence on the post-fire soil quality in the medium-term (48 months); therefore, taking into account its effectiveness for reducing soil erosion, the mulching treatment is recommended as the best post-fire stabilization technique.

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