Preliminary Effects of Prescribed Burning and Thinning as Fuel Reduction Treatments on the Piedmont Soils of the Clemson Experimental ForestThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
This study is a component of the National Fire and Fire Surrogate (NFFS) Study which is an integrated national network of long-term interdisciplinary research to facilitate broad applicability of fuel impacts. This part of the NFFS study in the Piedmont of South Carolina studied three ways of reducing fuel loads (prescribed burning, thinning, and the two in combination). The objective was to determine the effects of prescribed burning and thinning, alone and in combination, on the following soil components: net mineralization and proportional nitrification, C and N concentrations in the O and A/Bt horizons, and bulk density levels of the A/Bt horizon. Of these variables, prescribed burning caused a significant decrease in proportional nitrification, a decrease in carbon and nitrogen concentrations in the O horizon and a decrease in nitrogen in the A/Bt horizon. The thin only and thin and burn treatments caused an increase in bulk density but there was no effect on net mineralization and proportional nitrification. Thinning did not affect the C:N ratio in the O horizon but fire only reduced it and the thin and burn increased it above all other treatments including the control. These functional changes in site quality measurement changes were relatively small and may be only short term for both thinning and prescribed burning.