Effects of wildfires and pyrogenic carbon on soil functioning and organic matter dynamics
Effects of wildfires and pyrogenic carbon on soil functioning and organic matter dynamics
Editor(s): Gabriel Sigmund, Nicasio T. Jiménez-Morillo, Cristina Santin, José María De la Rosa, Nuno Guiomar, Diana Vieira, and Giacomo Certini
Wildfires induce physical and chemical alterations on soil properties, affecting both the quantity and composition of SOM and transforming biomass and SOM into pyrogenic carbon (PyC), also known as black carbon. PyC can derive from natural (e.g., wildfire charcoal) as well as anthropogenic sources (e.g., biochar), and it is recognized as an important carbon sink in terrestrial and aquatic systems. Wildfires and PyC can influence physical, chemical, and microbial soil functions by changing composition and properties of native SOM which can modify soil physical properties (e.g., texture, structure, and moisture), changing redox and pH conditions and forming aggregates by mineral surface interaction of PyC microparticles and nanoparticles. These changes can impact nutrient cycling and plant productivity, pollutant mobility, the soil microbiome, and edaphic fauna. These processes are of high importance for soil biochemistry, functioning, and carbon cycling and for assessing the environmental impact of wildfires for generating predictive tools that can be useful for post-fire restoration actions. To better understand the effects of wildfires and PyC on soil, a wider knowledge of the abovementioned interlinked processes is urgently needed.

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