Short-term low-severity spring grassland fire impacts on soil extractable elements and soil ratios in Lithuania

Paulo Alexandre da Silva Pereira, Artemi Cerda, Deborah A. Martin, Xavier Úbeda, Daniel Depellegrin, Agata Novara, Juan F. Martinez-Murillo, Eric C. Brevik, Oleksandr Menshov, Jesus Rodrigo Comino, Jesus Rodrigo Comino, Jessica Miesel

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Spring grassland fires are common in boreal areas as a consequence of slash and burn agriculture used to remove dry grass to increase soil nutrient properties and crop production. However, few works have investigated fire impacts on these grassland ecosystems, especially in the immediate period after the fire. The objective of this work was to study the short-term impacts of a spring grassland fire in Lithuania. Four days after the fire we established a 400 m(2) sampling grid within the burned area and in an adjacent unburned area with the same topographical, hydrological and pedological characteristics. We collected topsoil samples immediately after the fire (0 months), 2, 5, 7 and 9 months after the fire. We analysed soil pH, electrical, conductivity (EC), major nutrients including calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), and potassium (K), and the minor elements aluminium (AI), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn). We also calculated the soil Na and K adsorption ratio (SPAR), Ca:Mg and Ca:Al. The results showed that this low-severity grassland fire significantly decreased soil pH, Al, and Mn but increased EC, Ca, Mg, and K,. There was no effect on Na, Fe, and Zn. There was a decrease of EC, Ca, Mg, and Na from 0 months after the fire until 7 months after the fire, with an increase during the last sampling period. Fire did not significantly affect SPAR. Ca:Mg decreased significantly immediately after the fire, but not to critical levels. Ca:Al increased after the fire, reducing the potential effects of Al on plants. Overall, fire impacts were mainly limited to the immediate period after the fire.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-475
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2017



  • Boreal grasslands
  • Slash and burn
  • Dry grass
  • Soil nutrients

Cite this

da Silva Pereira, P. A., Cerda, A., Martin, D. A., Úbeda, X., Depellegrin, D., Novara, A., Martinez-Murillo, J. F., Brevik, E. C., Menshov, O., Rodrigo Comino, J., Rodrigo Comino, J., & Miesel, J. (2017). Short-term low-severity spring grassland fire impacts on soil extractable elements and soil ratios in Lithuania. Science of the Total Environment, 578, 469-475.