Forest Fires Seemingly Enhance The Nitrogen Cycle

American-Society-Logo The negative impacts of deforestation are getting noticed internationally. Many countries are undertaking necessary steps to lessen the problem for a more sustainable earth. One approach could be to find an alternative to replace existing wood products. When fire burns down a forest, the nitrate level augments and the effects are tenacious. Experts from the University of Montana highlighted that charcoal accumulated during fire events has great significance to trigger the conversion of ammonia to nitrates which claims to be an essential step in the nitrogen cycle.

Experts identified that a type of bacteria that transforms ammonia into nitrates was found in a large quantity in the latest burned sites. Surprisingly, the recent fire was twelve years before the sampling period. Additionally, the burned sites had larger rates of nitrification. This underlines that nitrogen developed more quickly through the ecosystem than without a fire.

Supposedly, nitrogen is found in limited quantity in coniferous forests soils of the western United States, the place where this study was conducted. The findings highlight a relation between fire, charcoal deposition, nitrification, and abundance of nitrifying organisms in coniferous forests of the inland Northwestern US.

The analysis was conducted on soils from sites that had been exposed twice or three times to fires in the last 94 years. Experts revealed that charcoal seemingly has the ability to enhance nitrate production immediately after the heat pulse and substrate pulse has abated.

Evaluation of the bacterial community highlighted shifts in community structure based on fire history and soil type. This puts forth that these soils are apparently moving towards supporting microbial groups. These groups are mainly found in more productive soils like those in adjacent open mountain meadows.

These findings were presented in the July/August 2010 Journal of Environmental Quality.

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