Saturday, 15 July 2006
119-17

Effect of Wild Fire on Water Repellency of Sandy Forest Soils.

Pavel Dlapa1, Ivan Simkovic1, and Ladislav Somsak2. (1) Dept of Soil Science, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius Univ, Mlynska dolina B-2, Bratislava, 842 15, Slovak Republic, (2) Dept of Soil Science, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius Univ, Mlynska dolina B-2, Bratislava, 842 15, Slovak Republic

The work is aimed to the effects of forest fires on soils hydrophobicity development in sandy soils of western Slovakia. Water repellent properties of soils have been described in many countries in the World. Lack of information exists on the occurrence of soil water repellency in central Europe and only a little attention had been dedicated to this phenomenon in Slovakia. The soil water repellency was evaluated with respect to site conditions and properties of various soil types. The persistence of water repellency was estimated with the water drop penetration time (WDPT) test. The soil hydrophobicity depended on the wetting history of individual soils. Field study of the effect of wild fire as well as laboratory simulations under controlled conditions were performed. The forest fire caused decrease in WDPT, which was observed in the surface soil horizon due to decomposition of soil organic matter. But infiltration experiments indicated a decrease in the rate of infiltration due to development subsurface water repellent layer. The heating at 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, and 300 C was used to simulate the heating effect that accompanies the passage of a grass, shrub, and forest fire on soil water repellency. Distinct increase in the severity of water repellency was observed when the samples were heated for 20 minutes at 150 to 250 C. Water repellency disappeared after heating at 300 C.

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