Canadian Forest Service Publications

Influence of fire and harvest on soil organic carbon in jack pine sites. 2009. Norris, C.E.; Quideau, S.A.; Bhatti, J.S.; Wasylishen, R.E.; MacKenzie, M.D. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 39(3): 642-654.

Year: 2009

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 29404

Language: English

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Boreal forest soils represent a considerable reservoir of carbon on a global basis. The objective of this study was to compare the response of soil organic carbon (OC) to disturbance along two jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) chronosequences of either fire or harvest origin. Total OC stocks were determined for the A and B horizons, and results indicated a recovery to predisturbance levels by 30 years in both chronosequences. To further characterize OC composition at all sites, we used a combination of physical fractionation of soil OC pools, 13C isotopic determination, and cross-polarization magic-angle spinning 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. OC within all soils was dominated by a labile pool associated with the coarse-sand fraction. The relative importance of this labile pool increased with time since disturbance along both chronosequences. However, the fire and harvested sites differed in terms of the macromolecular composition of soil OC as determined by NMR. In particular, spectra of the forest floors from the two younger fire sites showed a high aromatic OC intensity that may be attributed to the presence of char. Interestingly, our results also indicated that with increasing time since fire, this char was transferred from the forest floors to the A horizons.