Title

A Comparison of Plant Growth in Soils from Burned and Unburned Sites

Presenter Information

Corrine Towner

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom C/D

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

There are many considerations as to whether fire is beneficial or destructive. When fire is covered by the media they usually declare that areas affected by a fire are “destroyed”. The coverage also includes people who are directly impacted and they echo this feeling since their lives are certainly affected. My question is if the land is really destroyed or if it is simply changed. Soil was collected in the Taylor Bridge area from a deeply burned site and from an untouched site less than half a mile away and grew corn and sunflowers as representative plants to see if there was a difference in plant growth between soils in burned and unburned areas. The weight, texture and nutrient levels of the soil samples were tested and plants grown in pots in the greenhouse to determine if the plants’ growth was affected by the soil from different locations. There were statistically significant differences in measures of both soil texture and plant growth. The soil from the burned area supported more plant growth and had a consistency that potentially made nutrients in the poor local soil more available to plants. The soil test kit was only able to give a general indication of nutrient levels but the land, or at least the soil, seems to be improved by a deep burn and should provide a good medium for germination and new growth.

Poster Number

22

Faculty Mentor(s)

Raymond Donahue

Additional Mentoring Department

Biological Sciences

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May 16th, 8:20 AM May 16th, 10:50 AM

A Comparison of Plant Growth in Soils from Burned and Unburned Sites

SURC Ballroom C/D

There are many considerations as to whether fire is beneficial or destructive. When fire is covered by the media they usually declare that areas affected by a fire are “destroyed”. The coverage also includes people who are directly impacted and they echo this feeling since their lives are certainly affected. My question is if the land is really destroyed or if it is simply changed. Soil was collected in the Taylor Bridge area from a deeply burned site and from an untouched site less than half a mile away and grew corn and sunflowers as representative plants to see if there was a difference in plant growth between soils in burned and unburned areas. The weight, texture and nutrient levels of the soil samples were tested and plants grown in pots in the greenhouse to determine if the plants’ growth was affected by the soil from different locations. There were statistically significant differences in measures of both soil texture and plant growth. The soil from the burned area supported more plant growth and had a consistency that potentially made nutrients in the poor local soil more available to plants. The soil test kit was only able to give a general indication of nutrient levels but the land, or at least the soil, seems to be improved by a deep burn and should provide a good medium for germination and new growth.