Impact of fires on soil properties, runoff generation and sediment transport


Notes on session Session SSS 9.6/GM 6.7/HS 12.6 (EGU2013)

Conveners: Lee MacDonald; Jonay Neris; Stefan Doerr; Artemi Cerdà; J. Jacob Keizer

Wildfires are increasingly recognized as the primary cause of geomorphic change in forests and brush lands, and climate change is expected to further increase both the amount and severity of wildfires. Recent studies have provided an increasing amount of data on how fires can affect runoff and erosion rates, but there is still much to be done on the underlying causes of the observed increases, and how fire affects vary across vegetation types, climates, and spatial scale.

Post-wildfire landscape.
Post-wildfire landscape.

Dr. Scott Woods at the University of Montana was taking a leading role in this process-based research until his career was tragically ended by lung cancer. The Soil System Science sponsored a session in his honor during the 2013 EGU meeting, and this was entitled Impact of fires on soil properties, runoff generation and sediment transport.  The main aim of this session was to discuss the recent studies on the effects of fires on soil properties, the resultant changes in runoff and erosion rates, and the effectiveness of different post-fire treatments to mitigate these effects.

Impact of fires on soil properties, runoff generation and sediment transport oral session.
Impact of fires on soil properties, runoff generation and sediment transport oral session.

Twenty-four papers were submitted to this session.  The morning oral session in the morning began with a brief summary of Scott’s career, and this was followed by eight talks.  The session then shifted to a different room where a series of short presentations summarized many of the 16 poster papers.    The afternoon poster session then provided a lively venue for further discussions, and in the evening many of the presenters attended the special dinner for all those working on topics related to soil erosion.  Discussions are being held regarding the possible publication of the papers in a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal.

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