Fire and Ecosystems by T.T. Kozlowski (Eds.)

By T.T. Kozlowski (Eds.)

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Burning unquestionably results in great losses of total nitrogen from the site, but simultaneously it results in an increase o f mineralized nitrogen. T h e former is practically unimportant, the latter of great consequence. 40 P. J. V m o Particular attention must b e paid to the l o n g duration of the large amounts of exchangeable calcium in the mineral soil. Most Fenno-Scandian soils are p o o r in calcium, and a very high positive correlation has b e e n established b e t w e e n the amount of calcium and fertility of the site ( V i r o , 1 9 5 1 ) .

47 1. 62 Myrtillus type site. Fine sand moraine soil. South Finland. Samples were taken twice a month from M a y 15 to September 15 and analyzed fresh. Sampling was begun the day after burning. 2. Effects of Forest Fire on Soil 35 increases nitrification. T h e changes are m u c h greater in fertile than in barren soil. O n the most fertile sites, the increase of nitrate is greater than decrease of ammonia, whereas o n p o o r sites, decrease of ammonia can b e 6 times as great as increase of nitrate (Kaila et al, 1953; Viro, 1 9 6 3 ) .

There are many examples of this as a result of w i l d forest fires, for these usually occur during the driest periods of the summer. H o w e v e r , such problems are very rare after careful prescribed burning. T h e most c o m m o n mistake in practice is burning while the humus layer is still t o o wet. T h e fear o f the humus layer b e i n g burned t o o thoroughly p r o b a b l y derives from experience of reforestation difficulties after certain w i l d forest fires. In some cases the burned site may p r o d u c e such a profusion of ground vegetation that this interferes with growth of the seedling stock.

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