Soil Biological, Chemical, and Physical Properties After a Wildfire Event in a Eucalyptus Forest in the Pampa Biome
Wildfire events cause considerable environmental disturbance but few studies have examined changes in soil properties due to fire. This study aimed to assess the effect of a wildfire event on chemical, physical, and biological properties of the soil in a eucalyptus forest in the Pampa biome. Part of a seven-year-old eucalyptus forest was affected by a wildfire event that lasted for two days. Soil and plant litter sampling was performed in three areas: in the forest that was not affected by the fire, in the forest affected by it, and in an adjacent natural pasture area (the original vegetation). Seven samples were collected from the 0.00-0.05 and 0.05-0.20 m layers of each plot for biological analysis, and three samples were collected for chemical and physical analyses. Disturbed soil samples were collected in order to determine pH, organic matter, acidity, and nutrient content. Undisturbed samples were collected to determine soil microporosity, macroporosity, total porosity, and density. Soil macrofauna was assessed through the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility method, and biological activity was tested through substrate consumption in the bait-lamina test. The fire increased soil pH values, CEC, and base saturation, as well as K, Ca, and Mg content; it decreased potential acidity and P content in the soil. Soil physical properties were not altered by the wildfire. The total abundance of macrofauna and of annelids, arachnids, coleoptera, and isoptera decreased due to the wildfire, resulting in lower soil diversity. Hymenoptera abundance increased because of the fire event. The feeding activity of organisms in the soil surface layer decreased due to the fire. The wildfire in the eucalyptus forest in the Pampa biome altered soil chemical and biological properties.