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Nutrient Gains to Adjacent Ecosystems During a Forest Fire: an Evaluation

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Concentration of Na, K, Ca, Mg, and N in precipitation falling through smoke during a forest fire was 20 to 70 times greater than in normal precipitation. Climatic conditions during the Pine Creek fire in central Idaho were optimal for collecting nutrients by wet depositional processes. Hypothetically calculated nutrient inputs by dry deposition and wet deposition summed together provided 1 to 4 percent of the annual nutrient gain to standing timber in an adjacent watershed. In spite of the naturally high return frequency of wildfires in the mountains of central Idaho, it is unlikely that nutrient redistribution by smoke is of ecological significance away from the burned site. Forest Sci. 22:162-166.

Keywords: Chemistry (atmospheric); forest nutrition; nutrient cycling

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Soil Scientist, USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, Utah 84401

Publication date: June 1, 1976

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