Our study examined the effect of slash-and-burn management on the distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) across water-stable aggregate size fractions. Macroaggregates (>250 μm) are an important source of SOC and soil organic nitrogen in forest soil: they account for approximately 80% of the total C and N content. Slashing and burning did not destroy macroaggregates, but the SOC associated with macroaggregates decreased by 32% due to combustion during burning. Fire also disrupted soil aggregate stabilization by changing the chemical nature of SOC. The largest changes were noted after the first growing season following fire: macroaggregates and associated C decreased 50% while microaggregates increased by the same proportion. The changes in organic C observed after the first growing season can be attributed to macroaggregate instability.
Geoderma – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 1999
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