Effect of forest fire on soil properties and natural regeneration in Chirpine (Pinus roxburghii) forests of Himachal Pradesh, India




Abstract. Sharma Y, Gupta T, Gupta RK, Sharma PP. 2023. Effect of forest fire on soil properties and natural regeneration in Chirpine (Pinus roxburghii) forests of Himachal Pradesh, India. Asian J For 7: 125-132. Forest fires have a significant impact on the physical environment, such as land cover, land use, forest ecosystems, and biodiversity. The present study was carried out to quantify the effect of forest fire on soil properties and natural regeneration of Chirpine (Pinus roxburghii Sargent) forests in Himachal Pradesh, India. Data collection was conducted at six different sites in three forest divisions, namely Solan Forest Division, Hamirpur Forest Division and Dehra Forest Division during the year 2020. Burnt and unburnt forests were selected at each site and were compared with each other to study the effect of fire. The results reported that electrical conductivity, pH, available nitrogen, available phosphorus, available potassium were higher in burnt forests when compared to unburnt forests of the studied sites whereas organic carbon (%) was lower in burnt forests as compared to unburnt forests. Seedling density of trees was found higher in burnt forests whereas sapling density was found higher in unburnt forests. This indicates that fire is good for regeneration but frequent fires can be detrimental for the survival of seedlings. Frequent forest fires need to be prevented and that can be done mainly by social awareness and developing strategies for use of pine needles in farming practices and commercial use in paper, pulp and wood industries.



Beyer S, Kinnear A, Hutley LB, Mcguinness K, Gibb K. 2011. Assessing the relationship between fire and grazing on soil characteristics and mite communities in a semi-arid savanna of northern Australia. Pedobiologia 54 (3): 195-200. DOI: 10.1016/j.pedobi.2011.03.002.
Da Silva DM, Batalha MA. 2008. Soil–vegetation relationships in Cerrados under different fire frequencies. Plant Soil 311: 87-96. DOI: 10.1007/s11104-008-9660-y.
Ekinci H. 2006. Effect of forest fire on some physical, chemical and biological properties of soil in Canakkale, Turkey. Intl J Agric Biol 8: 102-106.
Flannigan MD, Stocks BJ, Wotton BM. 2000. Climate change and Forest fire. Sci Total Environ 262: 221-229. DOI: 10.1016/S0048-9697(00)00524-6.
Forest Survey of India (FSI). 2009. India STATE OF FOREST REPORT 2009. Forest Survey of India, Dehradun.
Forest Survey of India (FSI). 2019. Indian State Forest Report HP. Forest Survey of India, Dehradun.
Gavin DG, Hallet DJ, Hu FS, Lertzman KP, Prichard SJ, Brown KJ, Lynch JA, Bartlein P, Peterson DL. 2007. Forest fire and climate change in western North America: Insights from sediment charcoal records. Front Ecol Environ 5 (9): 499-506. DOI: 10.1890/060161.
Ghildiyal SK, Sharma CM, Gairola S. 2009. Environmental variation in seed and seedling characteristics of Pinus roxburghii Sarg. from Uttarakhand, India. Appl Ecol Environ Res 7 (2): 121-129. DOI: 10.15666/aeer/0702_121129.
Jackson ML. l973. Soil Chemical Analysis. Prentice Hall of India Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.
Joshi NR, Tewari A, Chand DB. 2013. Impact of Forest fire and aspect on phytosociology, tree biomass and carbon stock in Oak and Pine mixed Forests of Kumaun central Himalaya, India. Researcher 5: 1-8.
Konsam B, Phartyal SS, Kumar M, Todaria NP. 2017. Life after fire for understory plant community in Subtropical chirpine forest of Garhwal Himalaya. Indian For 143: 759-766.
Kumar M, Sheikh MA, Bhat AJ, Bussmann RW. 2013. Effect of fire on soil nutrients and under storey vegetation in Chirpine forest in Garhwal Himalaya, India. Acta Ecol Sinica 33: 59-63. DOI: 10.1016/j.chnaes.2012.11.001.
Kumar R. 2004. Effect of forest fire on floristic dynamics and soil properties of chirpine (Pinus roxburghii Sargent) forests of H.P. [Thesis]. Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry Nauni, Solan. [India]
Merwin HD, Peech M. 1951. Exchangeability of soils potassium in the silt and clay fractions as influenced by the nature of the complimentary exchangeable cations. Soil Sci Soc Am Proc 15: 125-128. DOI: 10.2136/SSSAJ1951.036159950015000C0026X.
Mittal D, Shukla R, Verma S, Sagar A, Verma KS, Pandey A, Negi YS, Saini RV, Saini AK. 2019. Fire in pine grown regions of Himalayas depletes cultivable plant growth promoting beneficial microbes in the soil. Soil Ecol 139: 117-124. DOI: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2019.03.020.
Negi GCS, Samal PK, Kuniyal JC, Kothyari BP, Sharma RK, Dhyani PP. 2012. Impact of climate change on the Wetern Himalayan mountain ecosystem: An overview. Trop Ecol 53 (3): 345-356.
Nigussie A, Kissi E. 2011. Impact of biomass burning on selected physico-chemical properties of Nitisol in Jimma Zone, Southwestern Ethiopia. J Biodivers Environ Sci 1: 39-49.
Olsen SR, Cole CV, Watnabe FS, Dean DA. 1954. Estimation of Available Phosphorous by Extraction with Sodium Bicarbonate. US Government Printing Office, Washington DC.
Panse VG, Sukhatme PV. 1967. Statistical Methods for Agricultural Workers, 2nd Edition. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi.
Pokhriyal P, Rehman S, Krishna GA, Rajiv R, Manoj P. 2020. Assessing forest cover vulnerability in Uttarakhand , India using analytical hierarchy process. Model. Earth Syst Environ 6: 821-831. DOI: 10.1007/s40808-019-00710-y.
Robyn A, Barbato M, Kelly JJ, Robert L. 2015. Wildfire effects on the properties and microbial community structure of organic horizon soils in the New Jersey Pinelands. Soil Biol Biochem 86: 67-76. DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2015.03.021.
Rojas MM, Erickson TE, Martini D, Dixon KW, Merritt DJ. 2016. Soil physicochemical and microbiological indicators of short, medium and long term post-fire recovery in semi-arid ecosystems. Ecol Indic 63: 14-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.11.038.
Subbiah BV, Asiza GL. 1956. The rapid procedure for the estimation of the available nitrogen in soils. Intl J Geosci 25: 259:260.
Tata HL, Narendra BH, Mawazin. 2018. Forest and land fires in Pelalawan District, Riau, Indonesia: Drivers, pressures, impacts and responses. Biodiversitas 19: 544-551. DOI: 10.13057/biodiv/d190224.
Tufekcioglu A, Kucuk M, Saglam B, Bilgili E, Altun L. 2010. Soil properties and root biomass responses to prescribed burning in young Corsican pine (Pinus nigra Arn.) stands. J Environ Biol 31: 369-373.
Verma S, Jayakumar S. 2015. Post-fire regeneration dynamics of tree species in a tropical dry deciduous forest, Western Ghats, India. For Ecol Manag 341: 75-82. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2015.01.005.
Verma S, Singh D, Mani S, Jayakumar S. 2017. Effect of forest fire on tree diversity and regeneration potential in a tropical dry deciduous forest of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Western Ghats, India. Ecol Proc 6: 32. DOI: 10.1186/s13717-017-0098-0.
Walkley A, Black IA. 1934. An examination of the Degtjareff methods for determination of soil organic methods for determination of soil organic matter, and proposed modification of chromic acid titration method. Soil Sci 34: 29-34. DOI: 10.1097/00010694-193401000-00003.