New book: Fire in agricultural and forestal ecosystem. The effects on soil.

Book cover
Book cover

Giacomo Giovannini
88 pages, 10.00 euros
ISBN 978-884673558-4

What kind of fire can we expect in a specific environment? what outcomes? Although we can not always predict fires, we can scientifically predict their consequences and thus prevent some of them.  This book intends to serve as an overview on the topic and as a guide both in basic ecosystem research dealing with fires and in fire fighting.

This book is written for ecologists, foresters, wildlife and park managers and young scientists who work in the field of forest fire and soil.

The book is intended to serve at least two purposes.

The first purpose is to give an overview of the great and interconnected complexity of the impact of fire on soil. Fire consists of specific components: heat and ash production, which act according to their specific temporal dynamic sequence. Then there is the soil, which behaves as described in traditional soil sciences, but is made even more complex when interacting with fire. Finally, there is the elapse of time and the action of meteorological events such as rain.

Young scientists, in their enthusiastic passion tend, correctly, to study the phenomenon of specific interest in depth, but often neglect the collateral effects. Such effects are discussed in Chapter 1.

Another problem not always well solved by young researchers is the appropriate choice of soil samples for their investigations.

For successful results, in all research focused on the environment, the congruence of the examined samples with the topics to be investigated and how representative they are of the whole system is of primary importance.

Planning an appropriate sampling procedure also entails having a clear knowledge of both the dynamics of the perturbation and structure of the system under examination.

Recommendations and suggestions for a correct soil sampling in burned areas are reported in Chapter 4.

Although it might appear to be more logical to discuss the problem of soil sampling at the beginning of the book, I preferred to discuss it at the end. I feel that at the end of a maieutic journey some recommendations and suggestions may be accepted and shared more willingly.

The second purpose is to offer a guide for three types of users: i) colleagues involved in basic research on the effect of fire on ecosystems, ii) people dealing with the preparation of computer managed programs, and iii) managers involved in fire fighting activities.

This guide or a tool is designed to predict, in the event of the fire, the temperatures that may develop at the soil’s surface and the resulting modifications to the soil, starting from a simple evaluation of the available burnable fuel, as in Chapter 2, or for prediction and prevention of soil erosion risks as in Chapter 3.


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