Long Term Effects Of Fire On The Soil Greenhouse Gas Balance Of An Old-Growth Temperate Rainforest

  • Sites: CL-SDF, CL-SDP
  • Perez-Quezada, J. F., Urrutia, P., Olivares-Rojas, J., Meijide, A., Sánchez-Cañete, E. P., Gaxiola, A. (2021/02) Long Term Effects Of Fire On The Soil Greenhouse Gas Balance Of An Old-Growth Temperate Rainforest, Science Of The Total Environment, 755(), 142442. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142442
  • Funding Agency: This study was funded by the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT, Chile) through the grant FONDEQUIP AIC-37 and AFB170008 from the Associative Research Program to Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad to JFP-Q and AG, FONDECYT N° 1171239 to JFP-Q and LINCGlobal research program funded by CSIC-Spain and Catholic University of Chile to AG. Partial funding was provided by the Vicerrectorado de Investigación y Transferencia from Universidad de Granada to JFP-Q.

  • Forest fires can cause great changes in the composition, structure and functioning of forest ecosystems. We studied the effects of a fire that occurred >50 years ago in a temperate rainforest that caused flooding conditions in a Placic Andosol to evaluate how long these effects last; we hypothesized that the effects of fire on the soil greenhouse gas (GHG) balance could last for many years. We made monthly measurements of fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) during two years of soils in an unburned forest (UF) and a nearby site that burned >50 years ago (BS). Our results show that CO2 emissions from soils were higher in the UF than in the BS, and positively correlated with temperature and negatively with soil water content at both sites. Both sites were net CH4 sinks (higher in the UF) and fluxes correlated positively with soil water content and negatively with temperature (stronger relation in the BS). Emissions of N2O were low at both sites and showed correlation with friction velocity at the UF site. The soil GHG balance showed that the UF emitted about 80% more than the BS (5079 ± 1772 and 2815 ± 1447 g CO2-eq m−2 y−1, respectively). Combining our measured fluxes with data of CO2 net ecosystem exchange, we estimated that at the ecosystem level, the UF was a GHG sink while the BS was a source, showing a long-lasting effect of the fire and the importance of preserving these forest ecosystems.

  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969720359714