Soil surface CO2 flux increases with successional time in a fire scar chronosequence of Canadian boreal jack pine forest
- 1School of Biosciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Jalan Broga, 43500 Semenyih, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
- 2Department of Geography, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK
- 3Department of Geography, King's College London, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS, UK
- 4Fire Research Group, Canadian Forest Service, Great Lakes Forestry Centre, 1219 Queen Street East, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 2E5, Canada
- 5Wildfire Investigations Ltd., 128 Chambers Avenue, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 4V4, Canada
Abstract. To fully understand the carbon (C) cycle impacts of forest fires, both C emissions during the fire and post-disturbance fluxes need to be considered. The latter are dominated by soil surface CO2 flux (Fs), which is still subject to large uncertainties. Fire is generally regarded as the most important factor influencing succession in the boreal forest biome and fire dependant species such as jack pine are widespread. In May 2007, we took concurrent Fs and soil temperature (Ts) measurements in boreal jack pine fire scars aged between 0 and 59 years since fire. To allow comparisons between scars, we adjusted Fs for Ts (FsT) using a Q10 of 2. Mean FsT ranged from 0.56 (± 0.30 sd) to 1.94 (± 0.74 sd) μmol CO2 m−2 s−1. Our results indicate a difference in mean FsT between recently burned (4 to 8 days post fire) and non-burned mature (59 years since fire) forest (P < 0.001), though no difference was detected between recently burned (4 to 8 days post fire) and non-burned young (16 years since fire) forest (P = 0.785). There was a difference in mean FsT between previously young (16 years since fire) and intermediate aged (32 years since fire) scars that were both subject to fire in 2007 (P < 0.001). However, there was no difference in mean FsT between mature (59 years since fire) and intermediate aged (32 years since fire) scars that were both subjected to fire in 2007 (P = 0.226). Furthermore, there was no difference in mean FsT between mature (59 years since fire) and young scars (16 years since fire) that were both subjected to fire in 2007 (P = 0.186). There was an increase in FsT with time since fire for the chronosequence 0, 16 and 59 years post fire (P < 0.001). Our results lead us to hypothesise that the autotrophic:heterotrophic soil respiration ratio increases over post-fire successional time in boreal jack pine systems, though this should be explored in future research. The results of this study contribute to a better quantitative understanding of Fs in boreal jack pine fire scars and will facilitate meta-analyses of Fs in fire scar chronosequences.