The effects of fire on soil and water

The major processes involved in the formation of lunar soil are:

The effects of fire on soil and water

Increased biomass production Increased water availability for plants: The increased water availability enhances biomass production, soil biological activity and plant residues and roots that provide organic matter.


The concept of water harvesting includes various technologies for runoff management and utilization. It involves capture of runoff in some cases through treating the upstream capture areaand its concentration on a runon area for use by a specific crop annual or perennial in order to enhance crop growth and yields, or its collection and storage for supplementary irrigation or domestic or livestock purposes.

The objective of designing a water harvesting system is to obtain the best ratio of the area yielding runoff to either the area where runoff is being directed or the capacity of the storage structure volume of water collected.

In this way, the water captured for crop production during runoff periods can be stored either directly in the soil for subsequent use by plants or in small farm reservoirs or collection tanks Plate 9.

This aids stabilization of crop production by enhancing soil moisture availability or allowing irrigation during a dry period within the rainy season or by extending crop production into the dry season. Some factors to be considered regarding these runoff farming systems and reservoirs include: Where a minimum water depth of about 1 m can be maintained in a reservoir, fish can be raised to provide additional food FAO, Numerous water harvesting systems have been developed over the centuries, especially in arid areas.

Plate 9 Hollows are dug in the ground to gather water during the rainy season. Fertilizers are needed in those cases where nutrients in the soil are lacking and cannot produce healthy crops FAO, and sufficient biomass.

P is required not only for plant growth but also for N fixation. Unbalanced fertilization, for example mainly with N, may result in more weed competition, higher pest incidence and loss of quality of the product.

Unbalanced fertilization eventually leads to unhealthy plants. Therefore, fertilizers should be applied in sufficient quantities and in balanced proportions.

The efficiency of fertilizer use will be high where the organic matter content of the soil is also high.

The effects of fire on soil and water

In very poor or depleted soils, crops use fertilizer applications inefficiently. When soil organic matter levels are restored, fertilizer can help maintain the revolving fund of nutrients in the soil by increasing crop yields and, consequently, the amount of residues returned to the soil.

Cover crops Growing cover crops is one of the best practices for improving organic matter levels and, hence, soil quality.

Case Studies

The benefits of growing cover crops include: They prevent erosion by anchoring soil and lessening the impact of raindrops. They add plant material to the soil for organic matter replenishment. Some, especially leguminous species, e. Most provide habitat for beneficial insects and other organisms.

The effects of fire on soil and water

They moderate soil temperatures and, hence, protect soil organisms.This state-of-knowledge review about the effects of fire on soils and water can assist land and fire managers with information on the physical, chemical, and biological effects of .

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IN THIS ISSUE •Wildland Fire in Ecosystems: Effects of Fire on Soil and Water •River Restoration in the Context of Natural Variability •Introduction to Suspended-Sediment Sampling: CD-based Training.

Wildland Fire in Ecosystems Effects of Fire on Soil and Water Authors Jan L. Beyers, Research Ecologist, Pacific Southwest Research Station, U.S. Department of Agriculture, For-est Service, Riverside, CA

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