Main Article Content


Controlled fire effect on nutrients and physico-chemical properties of soil was investigated after a span of one year of controlled fire under four land uses viz. chir pine forest (Pinus roxburghii), grassland, scrubland and non-fire site in chir pine (control). In March 2018, a controlled fire was caused, and soil samples were taken after one year of burning at different soil depths (viz. 0-5 cm, 5-10 cm and 10-15 cm). The experiment consisted of five replications in factorial randomized block design. The results revealed that in comparison to pre-fire assessment, available nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium slightly increased, whereas, soil organic carbon decreased slightly in post-fire assessment. The soil pH, electrical conductivity, bulk density and soil texture did not show any significant change after one year of burning. The study concludes that controlled fire did not cause any drastic fluctuations in nutrients and physico-chemical properties of soil and can be used as an effective management practice for combating the negative effects of wildfire on soil.


Chir pine forest Controlled fire Grassland Nitrogen Phosphorus Scrubland

Article Details

How to Cite
Vishvamitera, S., Sharma, U. ., & Guleria, A. . (2022). Fluctuations in soil nutrients and physico-chemical properties following controlled fire in North-Western Himalayas. Environment Conservation Journal, 23(1&2), 283–289.


  1. Alcañiz, M., Outeiro, L., Francos, M., Farguell, J., & Úbeda, X. (2016). Long-term dynamics of soil chemical properties after a prescribed fire in a Mediterranean forest (Montgrí Massif, Catalonia, Spain). Science of the Total Environment, 572, 1329–1335.
  2. Andreu, V., Rubio, J.L., Forteza, J., & Cerni, R. (1996). Postfire effects on soil properties and nutrient losses. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 6(2), 53-58.
  3. Arocena, J.M., & Opio, C. (2003). Prescribed fire-induced changes in properties of sub-boreal forest soils. Geoderma, 113(1-2), 1–16.
  4. Black, C.A. (1965). Methods of Soil Analysis. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, USA.
  5. Bennet, L., Aponte, C., Baker, T., & Tolhurst, K. (2014). Evaluating long-term effects of prescribed fire regimes on carbon stocks in a temperate eucalypt forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 328, 219–228.
  6. Certini, G. (2005). Effects of fire on properties of forest soils: A review. Oecologia, 143, 1–10.
  7. Chandra, K.K., & Bhardwaj, A.K. (2015). Incidence of forest fire in India and its effect on terrestrial ecosystem dynamics, nutrient and microbial status of soil. International Journal of Agriculture and Forestry, 5(2), 69-78.
  8. Dooley, S.R., & Treseder, K.K. (2012). The effect of fire on microbial biomass: a meta-
  9. Ferna´ndez, I., Cabaneiro, A., & Carballas, T. (1997). Organic matter changes immediately after a wildfire in an Atlantic forest soil and comparison with laboratory soil heating. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 29, 1–11.
  10. Fernandes, P., Matt Davies, G., Fernández, C., Moreira, F., Rigolot, E., Stoof, C., Vega, J.A., & Molina, D. (2013). Prescribed burning in southern Europe: developing fire management in a dynamic landscape. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 11(1), 4–14.
  11. Fisher, R.F., & Binkley, D. (2000). Ecology and management of forest soils. 3rd ed. Wiley, New York.
  12. Giglio, L., Randerson, J.T., & Van der Werf, G.R. (2013). Analysis of daily, monthly, and annual burned area using the fourth-generation global fire emissions database (GFED4). Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 118 (1), 317–328.
  13. Grady, K.C., & Hart, S.C. (2006). Influences of thinning, prescribed burning, and wildfire on soil processes and properties in southwestern ponderosa pine forests: a retrospective study. Forest Ecology and Management, 234, 123–135.
  14. Granged, A.J.P., Jordán, A., Zavala, L.M., Muñoz-Rojas, M., & Mataix-Solera, J. (2011a). Short-term effects of experimental fire for a soil under eucalyptus forest (SE Australia). Geoderma, 167–168, 125–134.
  15. Granged, A.J.P., Zavala, L.M., Jordán, A., & Bárcenas-Moreno, G. (2011b). Post-fire evolution of soil properties and vegetation cover in a Mediterranean heathland after experimental burning: A 3-year study. Geoderma, 164 (1-2), 85–94.
  16. Hernandez, T., Garcia, C., & Reinhardt, I. (1997). Short-term effect of wildfire on the chemical, biochemical and microbiological properties of Mediterranean pine forest soils. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 25, 109–116.
  17. Hore, U., & Uniyal, V.P. (2008). Effect of prescribed fire on spider assemblage in Terai grasslands, India. Turkish Journal of Arachnology, 1(1): 15-36.
  18. Jackson, M.L. (1973). Soil chemical analysis. Prentice Hall, New Delhi.
  19. Jhariya, M.K., & Singh, L. (2021). Effect of fire severity on soil properties in a seasonally dry forest ecosystem of Central India. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 18: 3967-3978.
  20. Johnson, D.W., & Curtis, P.S. (2001). Effects of forest management on soil C and N storage: meta analysis. Forest Ecology and Management, 140, 227–238.
  21. Kavdir, Y., Ekinci, H., Yüksel, O., & Mermut, A.R. (2005). Soil aggregate stability and assessment of organic matter in soils influenced by forest wildfires in Canakkale, Turkey. Geoderma, 129, 219–229.
  22. Kennard, D.K., & Gholz, H.L. (2001). Effects of high-intensity fires on soil properties and plant growth in a Bolivian dry forest. Plant and Soil, 234, 119–129.
  23. Knicker, H. (2007). How does fire affect the nature and stability of soil organic nitrogen and carbon? A review. Biogeochemistry, 85, 91–118.
  24. Kumar, M., Sheikh, M.A., Bhat, J.A., & Bussmann, R.W. (2013). Effect of fire on soil nutrients and under storey vegetation in Chir pine forest in Garhwal Himalaya, India. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 33: 59-63.
  25. Lavoie, M., Starr, G., Mack, M.C., Martin, T.A. & Gholz, H.L. (2010). Effects of a prescribed fire on understory vegetation, carbon pools, and soil nutrients in a longleaf pine-slash pine forest in Florida. Natural Areas Journal, 30 (1), 82–94.
  26. Macadam, A.M. (1987). Effects of broadcast slash burning on fuels and soil chemical properties in the sub-boreal spruce zone of central British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 17(12), 1577–1584.
  27. Meira-Castro, A., Shakesby, R.A., Espinha Marques, J., Doerr, S., Meixedo, J.P., Teixeira, J., & Chaminé, H.I. (2014). Effects of prescribed fire on surface soil in a Pinus pinaster plantation, northern Portugal. Environmental Earth Sciences, 73(6), 3011–3018.
  28. Mervin, H.D., & Peech, M. (1951). Exchangeability of soil potassium in sand, silt and clay fraction as influenced by the nature of complementary exchangeable cations. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 15 (C), 125-128.
  29. Naidu, C.V., & Srivasuki, K.P. (1994). Effect of forest fire on soil characteristics in different areas of Seshachalam hills. Annals of Forestry, 2, 166–173.
  30. Novara, A., Gristina, L., Bodi, M.B., & Cerda, A. (2011). The impact of fire on redistribution of soil organic matter on a Mediterranean hillslope under maquia vegetation type. Land Degradation and Development, 22 (6), 530–536.
  31. Olsen, S.R., Cole, C.V., Wantanable, F.S., & Dean, L.A. (1954). Estimation of available P in soil by extraction with sodium bicarbonate. USDA Circular, 939, 1-9.
  32. Panse, V.G., & Sukhatme, P.V. (2000). Statistical methods for agricultural workers. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi.
  33. Phillips, D.H., Foss, J.E., Buckner, E.R., Evans, R.M., & FitzPatrick, E.A. (2000). Response of surface horizons in an oak forest to prescribed burning. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 64(2), 754–760.
  34. Pierson, F.B., Robichaud, P.R., Moffet, C.A., Spaeth, K.E., Williams, C.J., Hardegree, S.P., & Clark, P.E. (2008). Soil water repellency and infiltration in coarse-textured soils of burned and unburned sagebrush ecosystems. Catena, 74(2), 98–108.
  35. Raison, R.J., Woods, P.V., & Khanna, P.K. (1986). Decomposition and accumulation of litter after fire in sub-alpine eucalypt forests. Australian Journal of Ecology, 11(1), 9-19.
  36. Rao, G.R., (1998). Studies on dynamics of herbage layer in pine and khair based natural silvipastoral system in north-west Himalaya, Ph.D. Thesis submitted to Dr. YSP University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, India.
  37. Romanya, J., Khanna, P.K., & Raison, R.J. (1994). Effects of slash burning on soil phosphorus fractions and sorption and desorption of phosphorus. Forest Ecology and Management, 65 (2-3), 89–103.
  38. Santín, C., & Doerr, S.H. (2016). Fire effects on soils: the human dimension. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 371(1696), 20150171.
  39. Scharenbroch, B.C., Nix, B., Jacobs, K.A., & Bowles, M.L. (2012). Two decades of low-severity prescribed fire increases soil nutrient availability in Midwestern, USA oak (Quercus) forest. Geoderma, 183-184, 89–91.
  40. Serrasolsas, I., & Khanna, P.K. (1995). Changes in heated and autoclaved forest soils of S.E. Australia. II. Phosphorus and phosphatase activity. Biogeochemistry, 29, 25–41.
  41. Shakesby, R.A., Bento, C.P.M., Ferreira, C.S.S., Ferreira, A.J.D., Stoof, C.R., Urbanek, E., & Walsh, R.P.D. (2015). Impacts of prescribed fire on soil loss and soil quality: an assessment based on an experimentally-burned catchment in central Portugal. Catena, 128, 278–293.
  42. Singh, T.C., & Singh E.J. (2014). Effect of traditional fire on N-mineralization in the Oak forest Stand of Manipur, North East India. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 4(11): 1-11.
  43. Snyman, H.A. (2003). Short-term response of rangeland following an unplanned fire in terms of soil characteristics in a semiarid climate of South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments, 55(1), 160–180.
  44. Subbiah, B.V., & Asija, G.L. (1956). A rapid procedure for the estimation of available nitrogen in soils. Current Science 25, 259-260.
  45. Switzer, J.M., Hope, G.D., Grayston, S.J., & Prescott, C.E. (2012). Changes in soil chemical and biological properties after thinning and prescribed fire for ecosystem restoration in a Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 275, 1–13.
  46. Terefe, T., Mariscal-Sancho, I., Peregrina, F., & Espejo, R. (2008). Influence of heating on various properties of six Mediterranean soils: A laboratory study. Geoderma, 143 (3-4), 273–280.
  47. Úbeda, X., Lorca, M., Outeiro, L., Bernia, S., & Castellnou, M. (2005). Effects of prescribed fire on soil quality in Mediterranean grassland (Prades Mountains, north-east Spain). International Journal of Wildland Fire, 14(4), 379–384.
  48. Valkó, O., Deák, B., Magura, T., Török, P., Kelemen, A., Tóth, K., Horváth, R., Nagy, D.D., Debnár, Z., Zsigrai, G., Kapocsi, I., & Tóthmérész, B. (2016). Supporting biodiversity by prescribed burning in grasslands-a multi-taxa approach. Science of the Total Environment, 572, 1377–1384.
  49. Verma, S., Singh, D., Singh, A.K., & Jayakumar, S. (2019). Post-fire soil nutrient dynamics in a tropical dry deciduous forest of Western Ghats, India. Forest Ecosystems. 6(1): 6
  50. Viswanathan, S., Eria, L., Diunugala, N., Johnson, J., & McClean, C. (2006) An Analysis of effects of San Diego wildfire on ambient air quality. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 56(1): 56-67.
  51. Walkley, A.J., & Black, L.A. (1934). An estimation of soil organic matter and proposed modifications of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Science, 37(1), 29-38.
  52. Weston, C.J., & Attiwill, P.M. (1990). Effects of fire and harvesting on nitrogen transformations and ionic mobility in soils of Eucalyptus regnans forests of south-eastern Australia. Oecologia, 83, 20–26.