Long-term effects of wildfire on available soil nutrient composition and stoichiometry in a Chinese boreal forest

Jian jian Kong, Jian Yang, Edith Bai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Wildfire disturbance is a major driver of biogeochemical processes in Eurasian boreal forests, yet little is known about the response of soil nutrient stoichiometry to wildfire in this ecosystem. To fill this gap, we measured the composition of available soil nutrients and their stoichiometric ratios in a Chinese boreal forest along a gradient of fire history. In the 1-year-post-fire site, wildfire increased the relative abundances of element nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), Sulphur (S), iron (Fe), and aluminum (Al), and reduced the abundances of element calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and potassium (K). Available soil N:K, N:S, P:K, P:S, and S:K ratios were 240%, 70%, 440%, 160%, and 150% higher than the control, but N:P ratio was not significantly different. In the 11-year-post-fire site, the soil nutrient composition recovered to the pre-fire levels. Although most of the soil nutrient stoichiometry returned to pre-fire levels, soil N:P ratios became significantly higher. These results showed immediate wildfire effects on soil nutrient availability and composition were strongly related to fire severity, but such effects could be subdued by soil environment and topographical variations over time. Although wildfire effects on soil nutrients are mostly short-term, it could produce relatively long-term effects on balance between N and P.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353-1361
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Nov 15 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Eurasian boreal forest
  • Fire severity
  • Phosphorus
  • Stoichiometry
  • Topography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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