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Soil and soil-solution chemistry after burning a clear-felled area in boreal Sweden

Andersson, Stefan; Ring, Eva; Högbom, Lars; Weslien, Jan


In Scandinavian forestry, prescribed burning is carried out to promote biodiversity. This study was initiated to examine how burning of a clear-felled area affected the soil and soil-solution chemistry in a nitrogen-limited coniferous forest in boreal Sweden. The stand was clear-felled and the logging residues were left on site. The harvested area was divided into two parts: one part was burnt within three months after clear-felling while the other part was left as a control. Soil and soil-solution samples were collected before and after felling and burning. In the FH layer, pH and the concentration of K and P tended to increase immediately after burning. Six years later, only small effects on soil chemistry were indicated, but the N concentration in the FH layer appeared lower in the burnt area even after 11 years. In the deep soil solution, the total organic carbon concentration was lower in the burnt area than in the unburnt area. The NO3--N concentration in the burnt area peaked at 0.50 mg l(-1) and the mean concentration during the first seven seasons was 0.13 mg l(-1). In the unburnt area, the NO3--N concentration peaked at 3.1 mg l(-1) and the corresponding mean concentration was 1.0 mg l(-1). Although the general level of NO3--N was low in this study, burning largely counteracted the increase in NO3--N concentration that usually follows final felling.


Clear-cutting; fire; forest; harvest; vegetation; water

Published in

Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research
2013, Volume: 28, number: 8, pages: 735-745

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      Forest Science

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