SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.82 número2Plant genetic resources for food and agriculture in Chile: Progress in conservation, characterization and usesMacroscopic and microscopic fungi with insecticidal activity índice de autoresíndice de materiabúsqueda de artículos
Home Pagelista alfabética de revistas  

Servicios Personalizados




Links relacionados

  • En proceso de indezaciónCitado por Google
  • No hay articulos similaresSimilares en SciELO
  • En proceso de indezaciónSimilares en Google


Chilean journal of agricultural research

versión On-line ISSN 0718-5839

Chil. j. agric. res. vol.82 no.2 Chillán jun. 2022 


Fire impacts on soil and post fire emergency stabilization treatments in Mediterranean-climate regions

Claudia Garrido-Ruiz1 

Marco Sandoval1 

Neal Stolpe1 

Juan C. Sanchez-Hernandez2 

1Universidad de Concepción, Facultad de Agronomía, Departamento de Suelos y Recursos Naturales, Av. Vicente Méndez 595, Chillán, Chile.

2Universidad Castilla-La Mancha, Facultad de Ciencias de Medio Ambiente, Calle Altagracia 50, 13001, Ciudad Real, España.


Wildfires are non-controlled large-scale fires of various vegetation types that have long affected the Mediterranean- climate regions, but their increased frequency and severity has led to the degradation of the ecosystems. Particularly in Chile, 147 major wildfires in 2017, were responsible of burning 546 678 ha, which included 28 729 ha of traditional small-scale non irrigated agricultural systems, highlighting the vulnerability of these agricultural soils to wildfires. Soil biological properties are more sensitive to heating than physicochemical properties. Thus, a reduction of microbial communities and associated enzyme activities generally occur in low-intensity fires (< 200 °C). Most significant changes in physicochemical properties of soil occurring in moderately intense fires (250 to 450 °C) are increases of soil pH, nutrient availability, bulk density and soil water repellency, whereas soil aggregate stability and water holding capacity generally decrease. When vegetation cover is completely destroyed by fire, emergency stabilization treatments such as mulching and seeding provide an immediate ground cover to reduce soil erosion and preserve nutrients. Therefore, it is important to define the impacts of wildfire on soil properties of agricultural lands to establish a roadmap to implement an adequate and viable restoration.

Key words: Erosion; fire; Mediterranean-climate; mulching; seeding; soil properties; wildfire


Fire intensity relates to temperature and fire duration (residence time) and represents the energy output from a fire. Thus, fire intensity mainly depends on fuel amount and flammability, weather conditions and topography (Keeley, 2009; Mataix-Solera et al., 2011). Low intensity fires reach surface temperature of up to 250 °C, whereas moderate and high intensity fires reach surface temperature up to 450 and 650 °C, respectively (Araya et al., 2016).

Because fire intensity is often not known for most wildfires, fire severity is used to describe how fire intensity affected ecosystems. Fire severity emphasized the degrees of organic matter loss or decomposition both aboveground and belowground and is positively correlated to fire intensity but also depends on the type of vegetation and soil characteristics and conditions (texture, water content and organic matter) (Keeley, 2009; Mataix-Solera et al., 2011). Fire severity can be assessed using burn severity mapping (spectral indices) (Fernández-García et al., 2019b) and/or ground variables such as coloration of ash, twig diameter on terminal branches and charring depth among other metrics (Keeley, 2009; Francos et al., 2018). Ground variables differ depending on the ecosystem but in general, severity varies from low severity fires (light) where non woody vegetation cover is consumed, ash is black and charring is limited to a few millimeters depth, to high severity fire (deep burning) where all vegetation is killed, ash is white/gray and charred organic matter reach several centimeters depth (Keeley, 2009).

Wildfires or uncontrolled fires generally occur in the presence of an abundant and dry fuel load (Certini, 2005). In Mediterranean-climate regions the frequency of wildfires is related to fuel flammability conditions and that is projected to increase around the globe if climate variables were the only driver (McWethy et al., 2018; Urrutia-Jalabert et al., 2018; Gómez-González et al., 2019).

Particularly, in Chile more than 95% of the wildfires occur in the Mediterranean-climate (warm summer) region between 33° and 42° S lat (Figure 1), i.e., the South-Central region (Sarricolea et al., 2017; de la Barrera et al., 2018; CONAF, 2020). These Mediterranean-climate regions are fire prone due to hot, dry summers and cool wet winters (Castillo et al., 2020). Furthermore, this area is characterized by an increase of extensive monoculture of exotic, fire prone, forest plantations, which have changed the vegetative landscape in just a few decades, replacing agricultural lands, grasslands, native shrublands and forests (Heilmayr et al., 2016).

In the last three decades, the frequency of major wildfires (≥ 200 ha) in Chile have increase from an annual average of 40 (1991-2000) to 63 (2011-2020) (Figure 2). Moreover, the length of fire season as well as the fire duration increased in the last 30 yr, evidencing that fire regime in central Chile has been altered (González et al., 2018; CONAF, 2020).

The main reasons identified for the higher frequency and severity of wildfire in Chile are: i) climatic variables such as summer drought, winter precipitation, and spring and summer mean temperature that promotes fuel accumulation and flammability (González et al., 2018; McWethy et al., 2018; Urrutia-Jalabert et al., 2018; Gómez-González et al., 2019), ii) increase of the area of fire prone exotic forest plantations (Pinus and Eucalyptus) and the adoption of intensive forest management practices, which result in the accumulation of a high fuel load (de la Barrera et al., 2018; Gómez-González et al., 2018; McWethy et al., 2018; Bowman et al., 2019), and iii) increase in population density and thus human occupation of the urban-rural interface and human-driven land use change that generates fires and intensify drought (McWethy et al., 2018; Gómez-González et al., 2019; Castillo et al., 2020).

In 2017, 147 major fires (each with an affected surface area ≥ 200 ha), driven by extreme climatic conditions (Bowman et al., 2019), were responsible for burning 546 678 ha (CONAF, 2020), making it by far the worst year of wildfires in the last three decades in Chile (Figure 2).

Figure 1 Köppen-Geiger climate classification (adapted by Sarricolea et al., 2017) and locations of 2017 major wildfires in central Chile. 

Figure 2 Fire-affected surface area and frequency (number) of major fires (≥ 200 ha) for the last three decades in Chile (CONAF, 2020). 

These major-fires burned down forest plantations, native forests, shrublands, agricultural crops and buildings; forest plantations (223 605 ha) whereby the native shrublands (187 906 ha) were the most affected ecosystems (de la Barrera et al., 2018). Likewise, 28 729 ha of agricultural lands between 33°50’ and 38º29’ S lat were affected by these fires (CONAF, 2020).

Wildfires that affect agricultural soils behave differently than prescribed (planned) fires that are used in agriculture that may have neutral or even positive effects (Armas-Herrera et al., 2016). However, high severity fires are not common in agricultural land because of a reduced fuel quantity (Certini, 2005) compared to fire-prone forest lands.

Fire causes an alteration of soil through heating and oxidation, thus generating new sources of physicochemical and biological inputs into the soil system in the form of charcoal, organic distillates, metal oxides and plant litter (Hart et al., 2005; Alcañiz et al., 2018). The capacity of a soil to recover from the fire-induced degradation depends on the type of ecosystem, fire severity (Fernández-García et al., 2019a), fire history, ash properties, topography, postfire weather, plant resilience, and postfire management (Pereira et al., 2018). Mediterranean ecosystems are vulnerable to the increase in fire frequency and severity, with a relative long natural recovery (passive restoration) period of 15-21 yr if not intervened (Moya et al., 2018). Thus, planned interventions such as emergency stabilization treatment are fundamental to prevent soil degradation and recover soil productivity in the short and midterm in agricultural lands.

Postfire emergency stabilization treatments such as mulching and seeding along with organic amendments applications, can be used for decreasing soil degradation (Pereira et al., 2018) and restoring productivity, but the lack of economic incentives for these practices (mulching and organic amendments) may make soil recovery difficult for most of the small landowners. Thus, the aim of this review is to describe the potential impact of wildfires on Mediterranean agricultural soils, and to analyze the inclusion of postfire emergency stabilization techniques into an incentive system with some projections to the case of Chile.


To assess the potential effects of wildfires on soils from Mediterranean-climate agricultural lands, we analyzed 34 studies. All the studies were conducted in Mediterranean-climate region and evaluated (short (≤ 1 yr) and midterm (> 1 yr and ≤ 5 yr) post fire effects of low to moderate severity fires in field conditions (Table 1).

Table 1 Studies that were considered to identify the effects of low to medium severity fires on soil properties in the short and mid-terms in Mediterranean climates. 

Csa: Hot summer Mediterranean climate; Csb: warm-summer Mediterranean climate.

Effect of fire on soil properties

Low to moderate severity fire primarily impacts the topsoil. Consequently, the loss of soil organic matter (SOM) rather than alteration of soil minerals, has been the property most related to fire-induced changes in soil physico-chemical properties (Mataix-Solera et al., 2011; Araya et al., 2016).

Soil biological properties are more sensitive than chemical and physical properties to heat, which decreases microbial C through the direct mortality of microorganisms exposed to lethal temperatures (Hart et al., 2005; Muñoz-Rojas et al., 2016) and extracellular enzyme activities by enzyme denaturation (Fultz et al., 2016). Furthermore, changes in chemical and physical properties indirectly alter microbial communities and the decomposing and mineralization processes that they catalyze (Hart et al., 2005).

Occasionally, there is an immediate net increase in available nutrient after a fire, leading to a short-term increase in microbial activity (Caon et al., 2014), but most authors report a decrease of this activity. Furthermore, a meta-analysis of below ground biological community responses to fire concluded that fire reduced the richness, evenness, and diversity of soil microorganisms and mesofauna by up to 99% (Pressler et al., 2019).

Substantial oxidation of SOM begins in the 200-250 °C temperature range (Certini et al., 2011). Although SOM quantity and quality may change with elevated heat (Faría et al., 2015; Jiménez-Morillo et al., 2020), low to moderate severity fires have greater effect over the microbial communities and associated enzyme activities. Not surprisingly then, most studies in Mediterranean-climate region report no effect on SOM quantity (Mataix-Solera et al., 2013; Meira-Castro et al., 2014; Fonseca et al., 2017; Francos et al., 2019; Moya et al., 2019; Plaza-Álvarez et al., 2019) while others showed a significantly decrease on microbial biomass C (Vega et al., 2013; Fernández-García et al., 2019a; 2019b; Moya et al., 2019; Romeo et al., 2020) and the activity of urease, β-glucosidase and acid phosphatase (Miesel et al., 2011; Fernández- García et al., 2019a; 2019b; Moya et al., 2019) (Figure 3).

Near 60% of the studies carried out in forest ecosystems report a decrease in enzyme activities in the short and midterm even with low severity fires (Miesel et al., 2011; Fernández-García et al., 2019a; 2019b; Moya et al., 2019), whereas low severity fires in grasslands and matorral report a neutral effect of fire on these properties (Gutknecht et al., 2010; Fontúrbel et al., 2012; Vega et al., 2013).

Soil chemical properties are generally more affected by the peak temperature than the fire residence time (Thomaz, 2017). Some studies report that the most significant changes of soil chemistry occur between 250 and 450 °C (Araya et al., 2016) and are linked to the SOM combustion and its by-products such as ash, pyrogenic organic compounds, increased pH, and transformation of Fe oxyhydroxide into Fe oxides (Caon et al., 2014; Thomaz, 2017). However, most studies on Mediterranean climate report no change in the mid-term of soil pH, electrical conductivity (EC) and cation exchange capacity (CEC) and an increase in available P, and NH4-N (Figure 4).

Fire usually increases soil pH in the short term because of i) the release of alkaline cations (Ca, Mg, K, Na) that are bound to organic matter (Certini, 2005; Alcañiz et al., 2018), ii) the destruction of organic acids, and iii) the contribution of carbonates and oxides from ash (Granged et al., 2011; Bodí et al., 2012; Zavala et al., 2014; Alcañiz et al., 2016). This increase is ephemeral due to the formation of new humus, leaching of bases and removal of ash by erosion processes (Zavala et al., 2014). Thus, fire has no lasting effect on pH in the midterm.

An increase of soil EC is associated to the soluble inorganic ions released during SOM combustion as well as the formation of black carbon and the incorporation of ash into the soil. Conversely, a decrease of CEC after fire is mainly associated with the net loss of SOM (Certini, 2005; Alcañiz et al., 2016; Araya et al., 2016). Some experimental studies have indicated that CEC is altered as far as the fire temperature exceed 300 °C to 350 °C (Thomaz, 2017). However, nonsignificant CEC changes are observed under low-severity fires because of unaffected SOM (Heydari et al., 2016; Fonseca et al., 2017; Plaza-Álvarez et al., 2018; Francos et al., 2019). Significant changes of EC have been reported in the midterm (Hueso-González et al., 2018) but most studies agree in a neutral effect of fire in CE and CEC after 1 yr (Granged et al., 2011; Jiménez-González et al., 2016; Hosseini et al., 2017; Fernández-García et al., 2019b).

n: Number of significant effects reported per soil property.

Figure 3 Short and mid-term effects of low and moderate severity fire on soil biological properties in Mediterranean climate areas (based on the 34 studies described in Table 1). 

n: Number of significant effects reported per soil property.

Figure 4 Short and mid-term effects of low and moderate severity fire on soil chemical properties in Mediterranean climate areas (based on the 34 studies described in Table 1). 

Nitrogen content is another chemical parameter that experience notable variations in post-fire soils. The total N concentration tends to increase after a fire due to: i) release of the element from dead roots and N-containing organic compounds (Rivas et al., 2012), ii) nitrification enhancement in acid soil, and iii) the addition of partially pyrolyzed materials (Grogan et al., 2000). Similar to pH total N increase is ephemeral, thus most studies report a neutral effect in this property in the midterm.

Generally, positive changes in nutrient availability (P, Mg, K, Ca) occur after a fire; however, the recovery of prefire nutrient concentrations can take approximately 1 yr (Úbeda et al., 2005; Alcañiz et al., 2016), thus, usually there are negligible mid-term effects regarding nutrient availability after a fire (Figure 4).

The main physical changes at low to moderate fire temperatures are an increase of soil water repellency (SWR) and bulk density (BD) and a decrease of aggregate stability (AS) and water holding capacity (WHC). Most studies report an increase of SWR during the first year after following the fire event, and no changes in the midterm (Hubbert et al., 2006; Jiménez-Pinilla et al., 2016; Plaza-Álvarez et al., 2018). Furthermore, SWR is common in long-term unburned Mediterranean calcareous soils (Bodí et al., 2013), thus, fire might not have the same impact as in other types of soil. However, the degree of postfire SWR in the short term depends on fire severity, vegetation type, soil texture, rainy season, soil moisture and land use (Alcañiz et al., 2018).

The AS usually decreases after fire in the short and midterm (Granged et al., 2011; Varela et al., 2015), WHC decreases immediately a fire but has no change in the short and midterm (Jiménez-González et al., 2016; Plaza-Álvarez et al., 2018) and BD increases in the short and midterm after a fire (Hubbert et al., 2006; Granged et al., 2011; Heydari et al., 2016) (Figure 5).

Postfire erosion risk

In Mediterranean ecosystems around the world, runoff and sediment yields are around 1-4 orders of magnitude higher on burnt soils compare to unburnt soils, resulting in serious soil degradation (Shakesby, 2011) due to extreme soil erosion rates (Lucas-Borja et al., 2019). After a fire event, a set of factors enhance the postfire risk of erosion: i) the presence of ash that causes the clogging of macropores and surface sealing (Larsen et al., 2009; Bodí et al., 2012), ii) the reduction of AS and increase of SWR and BD which reduces both the rate of infiltration and WHC (Certini, 2005; Jordán et al., 2013; Zavala et al., 2014; Heydari et al., 2016; Weninger et al., 2019), iii) the absence of vegetation cover and superficial litter layer (amount of bare soil exposed) (Bodí et al., 2012; Jordán et al., 2013), iv) the reduction of SOM (Wittenberg et al., 2020), v) the occurrence of intense rainfall immediately after a fire (Pereira et al., 2018), vi) slope, and vii) tillage (Larsen et al., 2009; Vieira et al., 2018) (Figure 6).

Therefore, postfire interventions are needed to reduce runoff and soil erosion in order to prevent losses of SOM, nutrients and avoid sediment transport. In addition to addressing the risk of runoff and erosion, the improvement of SOM quantity and quality is fundamental in the process of restoring other physical-chemical and biological soil properties (Varela et al., 2011).

n: Number of significant effects reported per soil property.

Figure 5 Short and mid-term effects of low and moderate severity fire on soil physical properties in Mediterranean climate areas (based on the 34 studies described in Table 1). 

SOM: Soil organic matter; BD: bulk density; SWR: soil water repellency; AS: aggregate stability.

Figure 6 Changes of soil properties, processes and site variables that increased soil and nutrient losses after a wildfire (adapted from Wittenberg et al., 2020). 

Postfire soil management

In most Mediterranean-climate regions, where wildfires are considered a main soil degradation driver, passive restoration (letting Nature do it) is not a viable strategy for most areas affected, were naturally vegetation recovery takes 5-10 times longer than wetter environments (Caon et al., 2014).

When vegetation cover is completely destroyed by fire, emergency stabilization treatments such as seeding for plant cover and/or mulching must be applied as soon as possible in the burned area to reduce runoff and soil erosion and nutrient losses (Caon et al., 2014; Fernández et al., 2019). Thus, ash deposition and persistence on the soil surface is essential to limiting nutrient losses and fostering vegetation recovery after a fire (Caon et al., 2014).

Plant seeding is a soil stabilization technique to accelerate the reestablishment of a vegetation cover in burnt areas (Fernández-Fernández and González-Prieto, 2020) and is used to reduce erosion and preserve soil nutrient after a fire (Table 2). However, this technique can be ineffective in increasing ground cover or reducing erosion rates and sediment yields, especially during the first critical rain events following a fire (Wagenbrenner et al., 2006; Vega et al., 2014) when it fails to achieve 50%-70% coverage of the ground necessary to mitigate post fire erosion (Robichaud et al., 2013). Furthermore, considering that wildfires in Mediterranean-climate region usually occur during hot dry summers, the establishment of plant seeding after a fire of rainfed agriculture in central Chile might not be viable.

As an alternative, dry mulching (using wheat and rice straw, wood strand and coconut fibers among others) can provide immediate effectiveness in increasing ground cover (Fernández et al., 2011; Wittenberg et al., 2020), reducing runoff speed, increasing water infiltration, and retaining sediments (Fernández-Fernández and González-Prieto, 2020).

Mulching therefore is increasingly employed to reduce postfire runoff and soil and SOM losses (Wagenbrenner et al., 2006; De la Rosa et al., 2019; Lucas-Borja et al., 2019). Although in burned areas with low precipitation, mulching might not decrease the losses of eroded sediment and nutrient (Fernández-Fernández et al., 2016). However, in Mediterranean climate with wet winters (and high precipitation) mulching is highly efficient to reduce erosion and sediment yield (Wagenbrenner et al., 2006; Fernández et al., 2011; Díaz-Raviña et al., 2013; Robichaud et al., 2013; Vega et al., 2014; De la Rosa et al., 2019; Lucas-Borja et al., 2019). In addition to reducing erosion and thus preserving SOM, N, and nutrients after a fire, mulching has others benefits that enable soil restoration after a fire such as increase in soil moisture and recovery of plan cover and preserve activity and diversity of soil microorganism (Fernández et al., 2016; De la Rosa et al., 2019) (Table 2). To complement postfire emergency stabilization treatments, soil amendment can play a crucial role to recover agricultural soils affected by wildfires. Considering that SOM and microbes can take longer time to recover to pre-fire status compared to chemical and physical properties (Girona-García et al., 2018), applications of organic amendments such as compost have been used after a fire to enhance soil fertility condition by improving physical-chemical and biological soil properties (Varela et al., 2011). But more studies are required to assess the impact of the use of organic amendment to restore soil biological properties after a fire.

Table 2 Effects of mulching and seeding on soil erosion after a fire. 

Fire management and planning tools in Chile

National environmental policies should consider the projected increase of wildfires frequency under expected climate variables, to help reduce the future risk of wildfires (Urrutia-Jalabert et al., 2018). Management options of potentially flammable biomass should be developed and optimized by risk-based modeling approaches and should be mandatory in wildland-urban transition lands (Gómez-González et al., 2018) as well as agricultural land-forest interfaces in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of agricultural land.

In Chile, the Law 20.283 Recovery of Native Forest and Forest Promotion, which has an annual fund of 8 million dollars, was established for the protection, recovery and improvement of native forests, and includes economic incentives for postfire recovery and the prevention and suppression of forest fires. The law provides subsidies for various activities and structures such as soil improvement, rainfall infiltration ditches, and forest thinning and firewalls.

For agricultural lands, the Law 20.412 Agri-environmental Soil Sustainability Incentive System (SIRSD-S) which has an annual budget of 60 million dollars, was established to promote practices that ensure the soils sustainable management in the long term for agricultural and livestock production. The SIRSD-S integrates five subprograms, which include among them plant cover establishment. This subprogram provides financing of 70%-90% of the total costs (depending on farm size) of plant cover establishment for bare soils, which can be used to prevent soil erosion and associated nutrient loss after a fire. But there are no economic incentives for mulching which is the most effective stabilization technique after a fire and could be used in rainfed agriculture which constitutes up to 90% of the total agricultural land that is affected by wildfire in Chile, and where plant cover cannot be easily established after a fire due to long-term droughts during the summer. Inorganic fertilizers are also financed by the sub-program, but organic amendments needed to recover these soils are not included thereby leaving aside degraded agricultural lands affected by wildfires in rainfed agriculture of Central Chile.


Mediterranean climate regions are prone to wildfires due to hot, dry summers and cool wet winters. Furthermore, considering that wildfire frequency is projected to increase in these regions, fire prevention and suppression efforts must go hand in hand with post fire restoration of these soils. Countries with agricultural lands vulnerable to wildfires such as Chile, should consider economic incentives to restore these soils affected for wildfires and guarantee its sustainable management in the long term.

Fire impacts on soil properties vary among the studies. However, most wildfires enhance the postfire risk of erosion due to the presence of ash, reduction of aggregate stability, and increase of soil water repellency and bulk density. Thus, after a fire the use of emergency stabilization techniques are essential to limit nutrient and soil losses in agricultural lands that need to recover its productivity in the short term.

Much research has been conducted to evaluate wildfire impacts and post fire restoration in forest soils, but there are not studies for agricultural soils affected by wildfires. Further research is needed to define the impacts of wildfire on agricultural soil properties and to evaluate the use of emergency stabilization techniques particularly in rainfed agriculture were the restoration or establishment of plant cover after a fire is not viable. To define the impacts of fire and post fire stabilization techniques will contribute to construct an adequate restoration strategy or guidelines to facilitate the post fire soil restoration in agricultural lands vulnerable to wildfire in the Mediterranean climate regions.


Authors acknowledge the National Agency for Research and Development of Chile (ANID) for funding this research through National PhD Scholarship ID 21200072, and project MEC80190011. Also, we thanks to the Doctoral Program in Agronomic Sciences, Universidad de Concepción for supporting this research.


Alcañiz, M., Outeiro, L., Francos, M., Farguell, J., and 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. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.01.115. [ Links ]

Alcañiz, M., Outeiro, L., Francos, M., and Úbeda, X. 2018. Effects of prescribed fires on soil properties: A review. Science of the Total Environment 613-614:944-957. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.144. [ Links ]

Araya, S.N., Meding, M., and Berhe, A.A. 2016. Thermal alteration of soil physico-chemical properties: a systematic study to infer response of Sierra Nevada climo sequence soils to forest fires. Soil 2:351-366. doi:10.5194/soil-2-351-2016. [ Links ]

Armas-Herrera, C., Martí, C., Badía, D., Ortíz-Perpiñá, O., Girona-García, A., and Porta, J. 2016. Immediate effects of prescribed burning in the Central Pyreneees on the amount and stability of topsoil organic matter. Catena 147:238-244. doi:10.1016/j.catena.2016.07.016. [ Links ]

Bodí, M.B., Doerr, S.H., Cerdà, A., and Mataix-Solera, J. 2012. Hydrological effects of a layer of vegetation ash on underlying wettable and water-repellent soil. Geoderma 191:14-23. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2012.01.006. [ Links ]

Bodí, M.B., Muñoz-Santa, I., Armero, C., Doerr, S.H., Mataix-Solera, and Cerdà, A. 2013. Spatial and temporal variations of water repellency and probability of its occurrence in calcareous Mediterranean rangeland soils affected by fires. Catena 108:14-25. doi:10.1016/j.catena.2012.04.002. [ Links ]

Bowman, D.M.J.S., Moreira-Muñoz, A., Kolden, C.A., Chávez, R.O., Muñoz, A.A., Salinas, F., et al. 2019. Human-environmental drivers and impacts of the globally extreme 2017 Chilean fires. Ambio 48:350-362. doi:10.1007/s13280-018-1084-1. [ Links ]

Caon, L., Vallejo, V.R., Ritsema, C.J., and Geissen, V. 2014. Effects of wildfire on soil nutrients in Mediterranean ecosystems. Earth-Science Reviews 139:47-58. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2014.09.001. [ Links ]

Castillo, M., Álvaro-Plaza, V., and Garfias, R. 2020. A recent review of the fire behavior and fire effects on native vegetation in Central Chile. Global Ecology and Conservation 24:e01210. doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2020.e01210. [ Links ]

Certini, G. 2005. Effects of fire on properties of forest soils: A review. Oecologia 143:1-10. ]

Certini, G., Nocentini, C., Knicker, H., Arfaioli, P., and Rumpel, C. 2011. Wildfire effects on soil organic matter quantity and quality in two fire-prone Mediterranean pine forest. Geoderma 167-168:148-155. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2011.09.005. [ Links ]

CONAF. 2020. Estadísticas históricas: Incendios forestales. Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF), Santiago, Chile. Available at Available at (accessed 5 December 2020). [ Links ]

de la Barrera, F., Barraza, F., Favier, P., Ruiz, V., and Quense, J. 2018. Megafires in Chile 2017: Monitoring multiscale environmental impacts of burned ecosystems. Science of the Total Environment 637-638:526-1536. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.05.119. [ Links ]

De la Rosa, J.M., Jiménez-Morillo, N.T., González-Pérez, J.A., Almendros, G., Vieira, D., Knicker, H.E., et al. 2019. Mulching- induced preservation of soil organic matter quality in a burnt eucalypt plantation in central Portugal. Journal of Environmental Management 231:1135-1144. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.10.114. [ Links ]

Díaz-Raviña, M., Martín, A., Barreiro, A., Lombao, A., Iglesias, L., Díaz-Fierros, F., et al. 2013. Mulching and seeding treatments for post-fire stabilization techniques in Laza (NW Spain): medium-term effects on soil quality and effectiveness. Flamma 4:37-40. ]

Faría, S.R., De la Rosa, J.M., Knicker, H., González-Pérez, J.A., and Keizer, J.J. 2015. Molecular characterization of wildfire impacts on organic matter in eroded sediments and topsoil in Mediterranean eucalypt stands. Catena 135:29-37. doi:10.1016/j.catena.2015.07.007. [ Links ]

Fernández, C., Fontúrbel, T., and Vega, J.A. 2019. Effects of pre-fire site preparation and post-fire erosion barriers on soil erosion after a wildfire in NW Spain. Catena 172:691-698. doi:10.1016/j.catena.2018.09.038. [ Links ]

Fernández, C., Vega, J.A., Fontúrbel, T., Barreiro, A., Lombao, A., Gómez-Rey, M.X., et al. 2016. Effects of straw mulching on initial post-fire vegetation recovery. Ecological Engineering 95:138-142. doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2016.06.046. [ Links ]

Fernández, C., Vega, J.A., Jiménez, E., and Fontúrbel, T. 2011. Effectiveness of three post-fire treatments at reducing soil erosion in Galicia (NW Spain). International Journal of Wildland Fire 20:104-114. doi:10.1071/WF09010. [ Links ]

Fernández-Fernández, M., and González-Prieto, S.J. 2020. Effects of two emergency stabilization treatments on main soil properties four years after application in a severely burnt area. Journal of Environmental Management 255:109828. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.109828. [ Links ]

Fernández-Fernández, M., Vieites-Blanco, C., Gómez-Rey, M.X., and González-Prieto, S.J. 2016. Straw mulching is not always a useful post-fire stabilization technique for reducing soil erosion. Geoderma 284:122-131. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2016.09.001. [ Links ]

Fernández-García, V., Marcos, E., Fernández-Guisuraga, J.M., Taboada, A., Suarez-Seoane, S., and Calvo, L. 2019a. Impact of burn severity on soil properties in a Pinus pinaster ecosystem immediately after fire. International Journal of Wildland Fire 28:354-367. doi:10.1071/WF18103. [ Links ]

Fernández-García, V., Miesel, J., Baeza, M.J., Marcos, E., and Calvo, L. 2019b. Wildfire effects on soil properties in fire-prone pine ecosystems: Indicators of burn severity legacy over the medium term after fire. Applied Soil Ecology 135:147-156. doi:10.1016/j.apsoil.2018.12.002. [ Links ]

Fonseca, F., de Figueiredo, T., Nogueira, C., and Queirós, A. 2017. Effect of prescribed fire on soil properties and soil erosion in a Mediterranean mountain area. Geoderma 307:172-180. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2017.06.018. [ Links ]

Fontúrbel, M.T., Barreiro, A., Vega, J.A., Martín, A., Jiménez, E., Carballas, T., et al. 2012. Effects of an experimental fire and post-fire stabilization treatments on soil microbial communities. Geoderma 191:51-60. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2012.01.037. [ Links ]

Francos, M., Stefanuto, B.B., Úbeda, X., and Pereira, P. 2019. Long-term impact of prescribed fire on soil chemical properties in a wildland-urban interface. Northeastern Iberian Peninsula. Science of the Total Environment 689:305-311. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.06.434. [ Links ]

Francos, M., Úbeda, X., Pereira, P., and Alcañiz, M. 2018. Long-term impact of wildfire on soils exposed to different fire severities. A case study in Cadiretes Massif (NE Iberian Peninsula). Science of the Total Environment 615:664-671. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.311. [ Links ]

Fultz, L., Moore-Kucera, J., Dathe, J., Davinic, M., Perry, G., Wester, D., et al. 2016. Forest wildfire and grassland prescribed fire effects on soil biogeochemical processes and microbial communities: Two case studies in the semi-arid Southwest. Applied Soil Ecology 99:118-128. doi:10.1016/j.apsoil.2015.10.023. [ Links ]

Gimeno-García, E., Andreu, V., and Rubio, J.L. 2000. Changes in organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus and cations as a result of fire and water erosion in a Mediterranean landscape. European Journal of Soil Science 51:201-210. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2389.2000.00310.x. [ Links ]

Girona-García, A., Badía-Villas, D., Martí-Dalmau, C., Ortiz-Perpiñá, O., Mora, J.L., and Armas-Herrera, C.M. 2018. Effects of prescribed fire for pasture management on soil organic matter and biological properties: A 1-year study case in the Central Pyrenees. Science of the Total Environment 618:1079-1087. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.127. [ Links ]

Gómez-González, S., González, M.E., Paula, S., Díaz-Hormazábal, I., Lara, A., and Delgado-Baquerizo, M. 2019. Temperature and agriculture are largely associated with fire activity in Central Chile across different temporal periods. Forest Ecology and Management 433:535-543. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2018.11.041. [ Links ]

Gómez-González, S., Ojeda, F., and Fernandes, P.M. 2018. Portugal and Chile: Longing for sustainable forestry while rising from the ashes. Environmental Science and Policy 81:104-107. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2017.11.006. [ Links ]

Gómez-Rey, M.X., Couto-Vázquez, A., García-Marco, S., and González-Prieto, S.J. 2013. Impact of fire and post-fire management techniques on soil chemical properties. Geoderma 195-196:155-164. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2012.12.005. [ Links ]

Gómez-Rey, M.X., and González-Prieto, S.J. 2014. Short and medium-term effects of a wildfire and two emergency stabilization treatments on the availability of macronutrients and trace elements in topsoil. Science of the Total Environment 493:251-261. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.05.119. [ Links ]

González, M.E., Gómez-Gonzáles, S., Lara, A., Farreaud, R., and Díaz-Hormazábal, I. 2018. The 2010-2015 Megadrough and its influence on the fire regime in central and south-central Chile. Ecosphere 9:e02300. doi:10.1002/ecs2.2300. [ Links ]

Granged, A.J.P., Zavala, L.M., Jordán, A., and Bárcenas-Moreno, G. 2011. Post-fire evolution of soil properties and vegetation cover in a Mediterranean heathland after experimental burning: A 3-year study. Geoderma 164:85-94. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2011.05.017. [ Links ]

Grogan, P., Burns, T.D., and Chapin, F.S. 2000. Fire effects on ecosystem nitrogen cycling in a Californian bishop pine forest. Oecologia 122:537-544. doi:10.1007/s004420050977. [ Links ]

Gutknecht, J.L.M., Henry, H.A.L., and Balser, T.C. 2010. Inter-annual variation in soil extracellular enzyme activity in response to simulated global change and fire disturbance. Pedobiologia 53:283-293. doi:10.1016/j.pedobi.2010.02.001. [ Links ]

Hart, S.C., DeLuca, T.H., Newman, G.S., MacKenzie, M.D., and Boyle, S.I. 2005. Post-fire vegetative dynamics as drivers of microbial community structure and function in forest soils. Forest Ecology and Management 220:166-184. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2005.08.012. [ Links ]

Heilmayr, R., Echeverría, C., Fuentes, R., and Lambin, E.F. 2016. A plantation-dominated forest transition in Chile. Applied Geography 75:71-82. doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2016.07.014. [ Links ]

Hernández, T., García, C., and 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. doi:10.1007/s003740050289. [ Links ]

Heydari, M., Rostamy, A., Najafi, F., and Dey, D.C. 2016. Effect of fire severity on physical and biochemical soil properties in Zagros oak (Quercus brantii Lindl.) forests in Iran. Journal of Forestry Research 28:95-104. doi:10.1007/s11676-016-0299-x. [ Links ]

Hosseini, M., Geissen, V., González-Pelayo, O., Serpa, D., and Machado, A.I. 2017. Effects of fire occurrence and recurrence on nitrogen and phosphorus losses by overland flow in maritime pine plantations in north-central Portugal. Geoderma 289:97-106. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2016.11.033. [ Links ]

Hubbert, K.P., Preisler, H.K., Wohlgemuth, P.M., Graham, R.C., and Narog, M.G. 2006. Prescribed burning effects on soil physical properties and soil water repellency in a steep chaparral watershed, southern California, USA. Geoderma 130:284-298. [ Links ]

Hueso-González, P., Martínez-Murrillo, J.F., and Ruiz-Sinoga, J.D. 2018. Prescribed fire impacts on soil properties, overland flow and transport in a Mediterranean forest: A 5-year study. Science of the Total Environment 636:1480-1489. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.05.004. [ Links ]

Jiménez-González, M.A., De la Rosa, J.M., Jiménez-Morillo, N.T., Almendros-Martín, G., González-Pérez, J.A., and Knicker, H. 2016. Post fire recovery of soil organic matter in a Cambisol from typical Mediterranean forest in Southwestern Spain. Science of the Total Environment 572:1414-1421. [ Links ]

Jiménez-Morillo, N.T., Almendros, G., De la Rosa, J.M., Jordán, A., Zavala, L.M., Granged, A.J.P., et al. 2020. Effect of a wildfire and of post-fire restoration actions in the organic matter structure in soil fractions. Science of the Total Environment 728:138715. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138715. [ Links ]

Jiménez-Pinilla, P., Lozano, E., Mataix-Solera, J., Arcenegui, V., Jordán, A., and Zavala, L.M. 2016. Temporal changes in soil water repellency after a forest fire in a Mediterranean calcareous soil: Influence of ash and different vegetation type. Science of the Total Environment 572:1252-1260. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.09.121. [ Links ]

Jordán, A., Zavala, L.M., Mataix-Solera, J., and Doerr, S.H. 2013. Soil water repellency: Origin, assessment and geomorphological consequences. Catena 108:1-5. doi:10.1016/j.catena.2013.05.005. [ Links ]

Keeley, J.E. 2009. Fire intensity, fire severity and burn severity: a brief review and suggested usage. International Journal of Wildland Fire 18:116-126. doi:10.1071/WF07049. [ Links ]

Larsen, I.J., MacDonald, L.H., Brown, E., Rough, D., Welsh, M.J., Pietraszek, J.H., et al. 2009. Causes of post-fire runoff and erosion: water repellency, cover, or soil sealing? Soil Science Society of America Journal 73:1393-1407. doi:10.2136/sssaj2007.0432. [ Links ]

Lucas-Borja, M.E., González-Romero, J., Plaza-Álvarez, P.A., Sagra, J., Gómez, M.E., Moya, D., et al. 2019. The impact of straw mulching and salvage logging on post-fire runoff and soil erosion generation under Mediterranean climate conditions. Science of the Total Environment 654:441-451. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.161. [ Links ]

Mataix-Solera, J., Arcenegui, V., Tessler, N., Zornoza, R., Witterberg, L., Martínez, C., et al. 2013. Soil properties as key factor controlling water repellency in fire-affected areas: Evidences from burned site in Spain and Israel. Catena 108:6-13. [ Links ]

Mataix-Solera, J., Cerdà, A., Arcenegui, V., Jordán, A., and Zavala, L.M. 2011. Fire effects on soil aggregation: A review. Earth-Science Reviews 109:44-60. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2011.08.002. [ Links ]

Mataix-Solera, J., Doerr, S.H. 2004. Hydrophobicity and aggregate stability in calcareous topsoil from fire-affected pine forest in southeastern Spain. Geoderma 118:77-88. [ Links ]

McWethy, D.B., Pauchard, A., García, R.A., Holz, A., González, M.E., Veblen, T.T., et al. 2018. Correction: Landscape drivers of recent fire activity (2001-2017) in south-central Chile. PLOS ONE 13(10):e0205287. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0205287. [ Links ]

Meira-Castro, A., Shakesby, R.A., Espinha Marques, J., Doerr, S.H., Meixedo, J.P., Teixeira, J., et al. 2014. Effects of prescribed fire on surface soil in a Pinus pinaster plantation, northern Portugal. Environmental Earth Sciences 73:3011-3018. doi:10.1007/s12665-014-3516-y. [ Links ]

Miesel, J.R., Boerner, R.E., and Skinner, C.N. 2011. Soil nitrogen mineralization and enzymatic activities in fire and fire surrogate treatments in California. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 91:935-946. doi:10.4141/cjss10098. [ Links ]

Moya, D., González-De Vega, S., García-Orenes, F., Morugán-Coronado, A., Arcenegui, V., Mataix-Solera, J., et al. 2018. Temporal characterization of soil-plant natural recovery related to fire severity in burned Pinus halepensis Mill. forests. Science of the Total Environment 640-641:42-51. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.05.212. [ Links ]

Moya, D., González-De Vega, S., Lozano, E., García-Orenes, F., Mataix-Solera, J., Lucas-Borja, M.E., et al. 2019. The burn severity and plant recovery relationship affect the biological and chemical soil properties of Pinus halepensis Mill. stands in the short and mid-terms after wildfire. Journal of Environmental Management 235:250-256. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.01.029. [ Links ]

Muñoz-Rojas, M., Erickson, T.E., Martini, D., Dixon, K.W., and Merritt, D.J. 2016. Soil physicochemical and microbiological indicators of short, medium- and long-term post-fire recovery in semi-arid ecosystems. Ecological Indicators 63:14-22. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.11.038. [ Links ]

Otero, M., Santos, D., Baros, A.C., Calapez, P., Maia, P., Keizer, J.J., et al. 2015. Soil properties, phosphorus fractions and sorption after wildfire in north-central Portugal. Geoderma Regional 5:86-95. doi:10.1016/j.geodrs.2015.04.003. [ Links ]

Pereira, P., Francos, M., Brevik, E.C., Ubeda, X., and Bogunovic, I. 2018. Post-fire soil management. Current Opinion in Environmental Science Health 5:26-32. doi:10.1016/j.coesh.2018.04.002. [ Links ]

Plaza-Álvarez, P.A., Lucas-Borja, M.E., Sagra, J., Moya, D., Alfaro-Sánchez, R., González-Romero, J., et al. 2018. Changes in soil water repellency after prescribed burnings in three different Mediterranean forest ecosystems. Science of the Total Environment 644:247-255. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.364. [ Links ]

Plaza-Álvarez, P.A., Lucas-Borja, M.E., Sagra, S., Zema, D.A., González-Romero, J., and Mora, D. 2019. Change in soil hydraulic conductivity after prescribed fires in Mediterranean pine forest. Journal of Environmental Management 232:1021-1027. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.12.012. [ Links ]

Pressler, Y., Moore, J.C., and Cotrufo, M.F. 2019. Belowground community responses to fire: meta-analysis reveals contrasting responses of soil microorganisms and mesofauna. Oikos 128:309-327. doi:10.1111/oik.05738. [ Links ]

Rivas, Y., Huygens, D., Knicker, H., Godoy, R., Matus, F., and Boeckx, P. 2012. Soil nitrogen dynamics three years after a severe Araucaria-Nothofagus forest fire. Austral Ecology 37:153-163. doi:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2011.02258.x. [ Links ]

Robichaud, P.R., Lewis, S.A., Wagenbrenner, J.W., Ashmun, L.E., and Brown, R.E. 2013. Post-fire mulching for runoff and erosion mitigation. Part I: effectiveness at reducing hillslope erosion rates. Catena 105:75-92. doi:10.1016/j.catena.2012.11.015. [ Links ]

Romanyá, J., Casals, P., and Vallejo, V.R. 2001. Short-term effects of fire on soil nitrogen availability in Mediterranean grasslands and shrublands growing in old fields. Forest Ecology and Management 147:39-53. doi:10.1016/S0378-1127(00)00433-3. [ Links ]

Romeo, F., Marziliano, P.A., Turrión, M.B., and Muscolo, A. 2020. Short-term effects of different fire severities on soil properties and Pinus halepensis regeneration. Journal of Forestry Research 31:1271-1282. doi:10.1007/s11676-019-00884-2. [ Links ]

Sarricolea, P., Herrera-Ossandon, M., and Meseguer, O. 2017. Climatic regionalisation of continental Chile. Journal of Maps 13:66-73. doi:10.1080/17445647.2016.1259592. [ Links ]

Shakesby, R.A. 2011. Post-wildfire soil erosion in the Mediterranean: Review and future research directions. Earth-Science Reviews 105:71-100. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2011.01.001. [ Links ]

Thomaz, E.L. 2017. Realistic soil-heating gradient temperature linearly changes most of the soil chemical properties. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 63:84-91. doi:10.1080/00380768.2016.1255538. [ Links ]

Úbeda, X., Lorca, M., Outeiro, L.R., Bernia, S., and Castellnou, M. 2005. Effects of prescribed fire on soil quality in Mediterranean grassland (Prades Mountains, north-east Spain). International Journal of Wildland Fire 14:379-384. doi:10.1071/WF05040. [ Links ]

Urrutia-Jalabert, R., González, M.E., González-Reyes, Á., Lara, A., and Garreaud, R. 2018. Climate variability and forest fires in central and south-central Chile. Ecosphere 9:e02171. doi:10.1002/ecs2.2171. [ Links ]

Varela, M.E., Benito, E., and Keizer, J.J. 2015. Influence of wildfire severity on soil physical degradation in two pine forest stands of NW Spain. Catena 133:342-348. doi:10.1016/j.catena.2015.06.004. [ Links ]

Varela, S.A., Gobbi, M.E., and Laos, F. 2011. Can biosolids compost improve, in the short term, native vegetation and soils fertility in burned Nothofagus pumilio forest in Patagonia, Argentina? Bosque 32:267-278. oa?id=173121375013. [ Links ]

Vega, J.A., Fernández, C., Fonturbel, T., Gonzáles-Prieto, S., and Jiménez, E. 2014. Testing the effects of straw mulching and herb seeding on soil erosion after fire in a gorse shrubland. Geoderma 223-225:79-87. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2014.01.014. [ Links ]

Vega, J.A., Fontúrbel, T., Merino, A., Fernández, C., Ferreiro, A., and Jiménez, E. 2013. Testing the ability of visual indicators of soil burn severity to reflect changes in soil chemical and microbial properties in pine forests and shrubland. Plant and Soil 369:73-91. doi:10.1007/s11104-012-1532-9. [ Links ]

Vieira, D.C.S., Malvar, M.C., Martins, M.A.S., Serpa, D., and Keizer, J.J. 2018. Key factors controlling the post-fire hydrological and erosive response at micro-plot scale in a recently burned Mediterranean forest. Geomorphology 319:161-173. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2018.07.014. [ Links ]

Wagenbrenner, J.W., MacDonald, L.H., and Rough, D. 2006. Effectiveness of three post-fire rehabilitation treatments in the Colorado Front Range. Hydrological Processes 20:2989-3006. [ Links ]

Weninger, T., Filipović, V., Mešić, M., Clothier, B., and Filipović, L. 2019. Estimating the extent of fire induced soil water repellency in Mediterranean environment. Geoderma 338:187-196. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2018.12.008. [ Links ]

Wittenberg, L., van der Wal, H., Keesstra, S., and Tessler, N. 2020. Post-fire management treatment effects on soil properties and burned are restoration in a wildland-urban interface, Haifa fire case study. Science of the Total Environment 716:135190. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135190. [ Links ]

Zavala, L.M., De Celis, R., and Jordán, A. 2014. How wildfires affect soil properties. A brief review. Cuadernos de Investigación Geográfica 40:311-332. doi:10.18172/cig.2522 [ Links ]

Received: October 31, 2021; Accepted: March 14, 2022


*Corresponding author (

Creative Commons License This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License