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Prescribed burning effects on soil enzyme activity in a southern Ohio hardwood forest: A landscape-scale analysis


Boerner, Ralph E. J.; Decker, Kelly L. M.; Sutherland, Elaine K. 2000. Prescribed burning effects on soil enzyme activity in a southern Ohio hardwood forest: A landscape-scale analysis. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 32(7): 899-908.

We assessed the effect of a single, dormant season prescribed fire on soil enzyme activity in oak-hickory (Quercus-Carya) forests in southern Ohio, USA. Four enzymes specific for different C sources were chosen for monitoring: acid phosphatase, beta-glucosidase, chitinase and phenol oxidase. Postfire acid phosphatase activity was generally reduced by burning and decreased with increasing longterm soil water potential. Postfire beta-glucosidase differed little between control and burned plots. Chitinase activity increased after fire in proportion to fire intensity. Phenol oxidase activity was highly variable and did not correlate well with either fire or soil water potential. Enzyme activities tended to vary more between samples taken upslope vs. downslope of a given tree than as the result of fire or landscape position. Overall enzymes whose activities are controlled by microclimatic or edaphic factors were affected more than those controlled primarily by substrate availability. Single, dormant season fires may consume a large proportion of the forest floor and change the apparent character of the surface organic matter complex without having major effects on soil enzyme activity.

Keywords: fire, landscape, acid phosphatase, beta-glucosidase, chitinase, phenol oxidase


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Prescribed burning effects on soil enzyme activity in a southern Ohio hardwood forest: A landscape-scale analysis
Electronic Publish Date: May 14, 2013
Last Update:
May 14, 2013

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