Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 303–311

Charcoal effects on soil solution chemistry and growth of Koeleria macrantha in the ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir ecosystem

Original Paper

Abstract

We conducted laboratory and greenhouse experiments to determine whether charcoal derived from the ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir ecosystem may influence soil solution chemistry and growth of Koeleria macrantha, a perennial grass that thrives after fire. In our first experiment, we incubated forest soils with a factorial combination of Douglas-fir wood charcoal generated at 350°C and extracts of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi with and without the addition of glycine as a labile N source. These results showed that charcoal increased N mineralization and nitrification when glycine was added, but reduced N mineralization and nitrification without the addition of glycine. Charcoal significantly reduced the solution concentration of soluble phenols from litter extracts, but may have contributed bioavailable C to the soil that resulted in N immobilization in the no-glycine trial. In our second experiment, we grew K. macrantha in soil amended with charcoal made at 350°C from ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir bark. Growth of K. macrantha was significantly diminished by both of these charcoal types relative to the control. In our third experiment, we grew K. macrantha in soil amended with six concentrations (0, 0.5, 1, 2, 5, and 10%) of charcoal collected from a wildfire. The data showed increasing growth of K. macrantha with charcoal addition, suggesting some fundamental differences between laboratory-generated charcoal and wildfire-produced charcoal. Furthermore, they suggest a need for a better understanding of how temperature and substrate influence the chemical properties of charcoal.

Keywords

Charcoal Soil solution chemistry Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine ecosystems 

References

  1. Berglund LM, DeLuca TH, Zackrisson O (2004) Activated carbon amendments of soil alters nitrification rates in Scots pine forests. Soil Biol Biochem 36:2067–2073CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Covington WW, Sackett SS (1990) Fire effects on ponderosa pine soils and their management implications. USDA Forest Service RM-GTR-191. Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Flagstaff, AZ, pp 105–111Google Scholar
  3. Covington WW, Sackett SS (1992) Soil mineral nitrogen changes following prescribed burning in ponderosa pine. For Ecol Manag 54:175–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. DeBano LF, Eberlein GE, PHD (1979) Effects of burning on chaparral Soils: I. Soil nitrogen. Soil Sci Soc Am J 43:504–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. DeLuca TH, Zouhar KL (2000) Effects of selection harvest and prescribed fire on the soil nitrogen status of ponderosa pine forests. For Ecol Manag 138:263–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. DeLuca TH, Nilsson M-C, Zackrisson O (2002) Nitrogen mineralization and phenol accumulation along a fire chronosequence in northern Sweden. Oecologia 133:206–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. DeLuca TH, MacKenzie MD, Gundale MJ, Holben WE (2006) Wildfire-produced charcoal directly influences nitrogen cycling in forest ecosystems. Soil Sci Soc Am J 70:448–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Diaz-Ravina M, Prieto A, Baath E (1996) Bacterial activity in a forest soil after soil heating and organic amendments measured by the thymidine and leucine incorporation techniques. Soil Biol Biochem 28:419–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dunn PH, DeBano LF, Eberlein GE (1979) Effects of burning on chaparral soils: II. Soil microbes and nitrogen mineralization. Soil Sci Soc Am J 43:509–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fernandez I, Cabaneiro A, Carballas T (1997) Organic matter changes immediately after a wildfire in an Atlantic forest soil and comparison with laboratory soil heating. Soil Biol Biochem 29:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fritze H, Pennanen T, Kitunen V (1998) Characterization of dissolved organic carbon from burned humus and its effects on microbial activity and community structure. Soil Biol Biochem 30:687–693CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Glaser B, Haumaier L, Guggenberger G, Zech W (2001) The ‘Terra Preta’ phenomenon: a model for sustainable agriculture in the humid tropics. Naturwissenschaften 88:37–41PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Glaser B, Lehmann J, Zech W (2002) Amerliorating physical and chemical properties of highly weathered soils in the tropics with charcoal—a review. Biol Fertil Soils 35:219–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gundale MJ, DeLuca TH, Fiedler CE, Ramsey PW, Harrington MG, Gannon JE (2005) Restoration management in a Montana ponderosa pine forest: effects on soil physical, chemical, and biological properties. For Ecol Manag 213:25–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Harborne JB (1997) Role of phenolic secondary metabolites in plants and their degradation in nature. In: Cadisch G, Giller KE (eds) Driven by nature: plant litter quality and decomposition. CAB International, Oxon, UKGoogle Scholar
  16. Hart SC, DeLuca TH, Newman GS, MacKenzie MD, Boyle SI (2005) Post-fire vegetative dynamics as drivers of microbial community structure and function in forest soils. For Ecol Manag 220:166–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kaye JP, Hart SC (1998) Ecological restoration alters nitrogen transformations in a ponderosa pine-bunchgrass ecosystem. Ecol Appl 8:1052–1060Google Scholar
  18. Kuo S (1996) Phosphorus. In: Sparks DL (ed) Methods of soil analysis. Part 3—chemical methods. SSSA Book Series 5. Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, pp 896–919Google Scholar
  19. Mann CC (2002) The real dirt on rainforest fertility. Science 297:920–923PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Monleon VJ, Cromack K, Landsberg JD (1997) Short-and long-term effects of prescribed underburning on nitrogen availability in ponderosa pine stands in central Oregon. Can J For Res 27:369–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Moore S (1968) Amino acid analysis: aqueous dimethyl sulfide as a solvent for the ninhydrin reagent. J Biol Chem 243:6281–6283PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Mulvaney RS (1996) Nitrogen—inorganic forms. In: Sparks DL (ed) Methods of soil analysis. Part 3—chemical methods. Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, pp 1123–1184Google Scholar
  23. Neary DG, Klopatek CC, DeBano LF, Ffolliott PF (1999) Fire effects on belowground sustainability: a review and synthesis. For Ecol Manag 122:51–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pietikainen J, Hiukka R, Fritze H (2000a) Does short-term heating of forest humus change its properties as a substrate for microbes? Soil Biol Biochem 32:277–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pietikainen J, Kiikkila O, Fritze H (2000b) Charcoal as a habitat for microbes and its effect on the microbial community of the underlying humus. Oikos 89:231–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rice EL, Pancholy SK (1972) Inhibition of nitrification by climax ecosystems. Am J Bot 59:1033–1040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rice C, Tiedje J (1989) Regulation of nitrate assimilation by ammonium in soils and in isolated soil microorganisms. Soil Biol Biochem 21:597–602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schimel JP, VanCleve K, Cates RG, Clausen TP, Reichardt PB (1996) Effects of balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) tannins and low molecular weight phenolics on microbial activity in taiga floodplain soil: implications for changes in N cycling during succession. Can J Bot 74:84–90Google Scholar
  29. Stern JL, Hagerman AE, Steinberg PD, Winter FC, Estes JA (1996) A new assay for quantifying brown algal phlorotannins and comparisons to previous methods. J Chem Ecol 22:1273–1293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Villar MC, González-Prieto SJ, Carballas T (1998) Evaluation of three organic wastes for reclaiming burnt soils: improvement in the recovery of vegetation cover and soil fertility in pot experiments. Biol Fertil Soils 26:122–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wardle DA, Zackrisson O, Nilsson M-C (1998) The charcoal effect in boreal forests: mechanisms and ecological consequences. Oecologia 115:419–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. White CS (1991) The role of monoterpenes in soil in soil nitrogen cycling processes in ponderosa pine: results from laboratory bioassays and field studies. Biogeochemistry 12:43–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. White CS (1994) Monoterpenes: their effects on ecosystem nutrient cycling. J Chem Ecol 20:1381–1406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Willis RB, Gentry CE (1987) Automated method for determining nitrate and nitrite in water and soil extracts. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 18:625–636CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Willis RB, Schwab GJ, Gentry CE (1993) Elimination of interferences in the colormetric analysis of ammonium in water and soil extracts. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 24:1009–1019Google Scholar
  36. Zackrisson O, Nilsson M-C, Wardle DA (1996) Key ecological function of charcoal from wildfire in the Boreal forest. Oikos 77:10–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zibilske LM (1994) Carbon mineralization. In: Weaver RW, Angle S, Bottomly P (eds) Methods of soil analysis. Part 2: microbiological and biochemical properties. Soil Science Society America, Madison, WI, pp 835–863Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecosystem and Conservation SciencesUniversity of MontanaMissoulaUSA

Personalised recommendations