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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Extractable Anions in Soils following Wildfire in a Sagebrush-Grass Community


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 58 No. 2, p. 564-570
    Received: Dec 23, 1992

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Robert R. Blank ,
  2. Fay Allen and
  3. James A. Young
  1. USDA-ARS Conservation Biology of Rangelands Unit, 920 Valley Road, Reno, NY 89512



Field and laboratory research was conducted to measure changes in extractable anions following wildfire in sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.)-grass communities. Two sites were studied along the eastern Sierra Nevada front in northeastern California on coarse-textured Haploxerolls and Haplargids formed from granitic parent materials. Soils were extracted with 0.15% KCl and analyzed with high-performance anion exchange chromatography. Compared with unburned soils, significant (P ≤ 0.05) decreases in NO3 and orthophosphate, and significant increases in SO2−4, acetate, formate, oxalate, and glycolate occurred immediately after wildfire in the surface 5 cm of under-shrub soil. Concentrations of organic acids in burned under-shrub soils increased significantly (P ≤ 0.05) in the weeks following a wildfire. In shrub interspaces, largely occupied by cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.), concentrations of anions were similar in unburned and post-wildfire soils. Laboratory heating of under-shrub soil indicated that maximum amounts of KCl-extractable organic anions are produced at temperatures between 150 and 350°C, and that the length of time (up to 30 min) the soil was exposed to a given temperature considerably affected these amounts. Elevated concentrations of organic acids may influence seed germination, plant establishment, and mineral nutrition.

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