The effect of fire on soil organic matter content is highly variable and depends onseveral factors including fire intensity, soil type and nature of burned material.Grassland in semiarid environment are often managed by shepherds with annualburning in order to enhance pasture recovery. The aim of this work was investigatingthe effect of fire as grassland management tool on soil organic carbon (SOC) reservoirsand on post-fire plant recovery. The study was conducted on Hyparrenia hirta grasslandand Ampelodesma mauritanicus grassland, located in the Province of Palermo, in thenorth of Sicily. Soil samples were collected at two depth (0-5 and 5-20 cm) before andafter experimental fire and soil organic carbon was measured. During grazing fire soilsurface temperature was monitored. Biomass of both grassland species was analyzed todetermine dry weight and its chemical composition. Our major results showed that SOCvaried significantly with land cover, while it is not affected in the short period bygrassland fire. Ampelodesma grassland stored more organic carbon (60.5 ± 2 Mg ha-1)compared to Hyparrenia grassland (40.2 ± 1.5 Mg ha -1), thanks lower content inbiomass of labile carbon pool. No significant difference in SOC before and after fire maybeen caused by multiple factors. Firstly, soil temperature measured during fire was lowdue to poor litter layer, secondly in semiarid environment higher mineralization rateresults in lower soil carbon labile pool, thirdly most SOC is stored in the finest soilfractions and thus such physical protected SOC pool is not affected by fire.
|Numero di pagine||1|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2011|