Soil organic carbon and black carbon storage and dynamics under different fire regimes in temperate mixed-grass savanna Academic Article uri icon


  • We quantified the effects of repeated, seasonal fires on soil organic carbon (SOC), black carbon (BC), and total N in controls and four fire treatments differing in frequency and season of occurrence in a temperate savanna. The SOC at 0-20 cm depth increased from 2044 g C m-2 in controls to 2393-2534 g C m-2 in the three treatments that included summer fire. Similarly, soil total N (0-20 cm) increased from 224 g N m -2 in the control to 251-255 g N m-2 in the treatments that included summer fire. However, winter fires had no effect on SOC or total N. Plant species composition coupled with lower 13C of SOC suggested that increased soil C in summer fire treatments was related to shifts in community composition toward greater relative productivity by C3 species. Lower 15N of soil total N in summer fire treatments was consistent with a scenario in which N inputs > N losses. The BC storage was not altered by fire, and comprised 13-17% of SOC in all treatments. Results indicated that fire and its season of occurrence can significantly alter ecosystem processes and the storage of C and N in savanna ecosystems. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Ansley, R. J., Boutton, T. W., & Skjemstad, J. O.

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Ansley, RJ||Boutton, TW||Skjemstad, JO

publication date

  • July 2006