Fire and soils: Measurements, modelling, management and challenges

Lea Wittenberg, Paulo Pereira

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


Fire is a natural element that has important effects on society, economy and environment. It is a critical element of many ecosystems, but when uncontrolled is the cause of the destruction of many socio-economic systems. These uncontrolled fires (wildfires) have temporal effects on soils, depending on the wildfire severity. The impacts can be direct (heating) or indirect (ash). The most important response occurs in the immediate period post-fire (e.g., window of disturbance) and decreases with vegetation cover increases. Several models were created and used to estimate post-fire erosion rates. Nevertheless, there are still significant challenges ahead since the estimations are not accurate. Also, certain practices (e.g., salvage logging) have a pervasive effect on soils, in some cases more detrimental than the wildfire risk, mainly if carried out in the immediate period after the wildfire. This special issue comprises 17 articles from diverse geographies and covers many topics and aspects related to fire impacts on soils (e.g., modelling, fertility, organic matter, microbiology, smouldering).

Original languageEnglish
Article number145964
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Fire
  • Modelling
  • Post-wildfire management
  • Soils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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