The effect of fire on nutrients in a pine forest soil

P. Kutiel, Z. Naveh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


The effect of a hot summer fire on soil nutrient contents in the upper 2 cm of Aleppo pine forest with a dense woody understory was studied from September 1985 to May 1986. In comparison with the adjacent unburned forest, total nitrogen decreased by 25% but available forms of nitrogen were much higher. In burned and unburned soils there was a similar trend to increase and decrease in NH4+-N, However, while (NO2-+NO3--N decreased in the unburned soil it rose rapidly in the burned ash soil. Total phosphorus increased by 300% after the fire but decreased again 2 months later. Also water-soluble P increased up to November and then decreased to the levels of the unburned soils. The same was true for electrical conductivity and pH, increasing immediately after the fire and then leveling off again. This increase in nutrient levels in the "ash soil" was reflected in the striking increase in shoot and root biomass and in the content of N, P, Mg, K, Ca, Zn and Fe in wheat and clover plants grown in pots in these soils. These nutrient levels were much higher in the wheat plants, which also produced 12 times more seeds in the "ash soil." It seems that fire in these pine forests causes a short-term flush of the mineral elements in the upper "ash soil" layer which is reverted gradually via the herbaceous post-fire to the ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-274
Number of pages6
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Sep 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Aleppo pine
  • Israel
  • fire
  • soil nutrients


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