What is the impact of fire on desert soils of Nevada?

October 15, 2020 – Wildfires can cause permanent changes to soil’s physical, chemical, and microbial communities. The Soil Science Society of America’s (SSSA) October 15th Soils Matter Blog explores the impact of fire on soil biochemistry in Nevada desert lands.

According to blogger Christina T. Igono, “one of the major challenges associated with wildfire in northern Nevada rangelands is the invasion of species known as cheatgrass. Cheatgrass is a non-native annual plant that can grow sporadically after fire. It’s more competitive than native plant species, and steals nutrients and moisture from native plants. This inhibits the growth of desirable native plants species like sagebrush.”

Cheatgrass can lead to the spread of more fire because it changes the natural “fire buffers” in a natural sagebrush system that has natural spacing. In the northern Nevada climate, fire has caused a lot of damage. Some areas have sterile soil – killing off microbial life. This interrupts the natural cycle of recycling organic matter and improving soil health. Igono’s study considers the immediate effects of fire on soil nutrients one and three weeks after burning. To learn more, read the entire blog post: https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2020/10/15/what-is-the-impact-of-fire-on-desert-soils-of-nevada/

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The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members and 1,000+ certified professionals dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. The Society provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.