Northeastern Section - 54th Annual Meeting - 2019

Paper No. 14-2
Presentation Time: 1:50 PM


TOMPKINS, Makayla M.1, TETREAULT, Troy N.2 and ALLDRED, Mary2, (1)Biological Sciences Department, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY 12901; Center for Earth and Environmental Science, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY 12901, (2)Center for Earth and Environmental Science, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Fire is an instantaneous modifier that can quickly influence biogeochemical cycles by altering soil properties and nutrient cycles. This study investigates the effects of a wildfire on the soil properties of a sandstone pavement pine barren (Natural Heritage S1G2) in Altona, Clinton County, New York. Immediately following the fire, managers determined that beaver pond and poor-fen wetlands served as natural firebreaks. We observed that wetland areas within the fire suffered less damage than the surrounding forest. In this study, we collected preliminary soil data on a large wetland complex at the edge of the burn. We established transects from the wetland edge into the forest on burned and unburned sites and collected soil samples at 4 m increments along the transects. Soil samples were analyzed to determine bulk density, moisture, organic content, and extractable nutrient concentrations. As expected, our results indicated significant losses of organic carbon in burned sites. However, we found that wetlands retained similar organic carbon stocks at burned and unburned sites. This result indicates that wetlands serve as permanent carbon sinks in fire-dependent ecosystems. In the future, we will investigate whether wetlands within the burn also served as permanent carbon sinks and whether the size of the wetland affects its ability to retain carbon during burn events.