The effect of fire on the vegetation and soil properties of ungrazed shortgrass steppe rangeland of the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey


Creative Commons License

Erkovan S. , Koc A., Güllap M. K. , Erkovan H. I. , Bilen S.

TURKISH JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY, vol.40, no.2, pp.290-299, 2016 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.3906/tar-1508-121
  • Title of Journal : TURKISH JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY
  • Page Numbers: pp.290-299

Abstract

Fire is an important driver of ecological processes and a management tool in humid rangelands, but it is less known in semiarid rangelands at cool temperatures. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of fire on some vegetation and soil properties of the highland steppe rangelands of the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey. Canopy coverage, botanical composition as a functional group, aboveground biomass, litter mass, bacteria and fungi numbers, soil moisture, pH, organic matter, available NO3, available NH4, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, total calcium, total potassium, total magnesium, total sodium, cation exchange capacity, and calcium carbonate contents were determined at the studied locations in 2012 and 2013. The effects of fire in early autumn had significantly different responses between the locations. Aboveground biomass and litter mass decreased in the year following the fire, but they tended to increase in the second year following the fire. While for perennial grasses the percentage increased in the years after the fire, forbs decreased in burned plots, especially at the university location. Fire did not have an effect on the investigated soil properties because the variation observed between the treatments was not consistent between the locations. These results showed that fire is an undesirable application in semiarid highland rangelands with respect to aboveground plant production, but it can be considered as a tool for changing botanical composition.