Plant and Soil

, Volume 360, Issue 1–2, pp 243–257 | Cite as

Effects of forest wildfire on soil microbial-community activity and chemical components on a temporal-seasonal scale

  • Orit Ginzburg
  • Yosef Steinberger
Regular Article



Soil response and rehabilitation after wildfires are affected by natural environmental factors such as seasonality, and other time-dependent changes, such as vegetation recovery (e.g., % soil cover). These changes affect soil microbial-community activity. During summer 2006, almost 1,200 hectares (ha) of coniferous forest in northern Israel, including Byria Forest, burned.


Soil samples were collected seasonally from severely burned and unburned areas, on a time scale of 7 days to 4 years after wildfire. Chemical and microbial parameters of the forest soil system were examined.


Results obtained show that increase in total soluble nitrogen (TSN) in burned areas may limit microbial activity during the first year after wildfire. Two years after wildfire, soil TSN levels in burned areas decreased to unburned levels after plant growth, allowing the microbial community to proliferate.


Wildfire had a significant impact on TSN, soil moisture (SM), and microbial nitrogen (MBN) compared to seasonality. These parameters are recommended for monitoring post-fire soil state. The direct effect of wildfire on soil constituents at the study site was stronger during the first 2–4 years. Indirect changes due to vegetation cover could have a longer effect on burned soil systems and should be further examined.


Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) Microbial community Microbial N Pine forest Resilience index (RxSeasonality Temporal scale Total soluble nitrogen (TSN) Wildfire 



We wish to thank Mrs. Gineta Barness for technical assistance and Ms. Sharon Victor for useful comments. Special thanks to Dr. Marcelo Sternberg for constructive advice. This research is part of the Ph.D. thesis of Orit Ginzburg and was funded by the KKL Organization. The funding source had no involvement in the study design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, in the writing of the paper, or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Mina & Everard Goodman Faculty of Life SciencesBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael

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