Structural heterogeneity of vegetation fire ash

Anna Brook, Lea Wittenberg, Daniella Kopel, Maria Polinova, Dar Roberts, Charles Ichoku, Nurit Shtober-Zisu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Any wildfire generates ash, the solid residue derived from burning biomass. Vegetation fire ash consists of charred organic material, charcoal, and inorganic mineral substances. Recent studies identified ash deposits as a dual system: soil and ash strata. The addition of ash to the soil profile alters soil properties and dynamics. A thorough analysis of ash–soil profile reveals a structural appearance of thin laminas. The laminas differ in a variety of physical properties and mineral composition. This research aims at assessing the unique properties of ash–soil profiles by performing an infrared spectroscopic study and statistical analysis. For that purpose, several laboratory experiments were conducted. The paper presents semiquantitative results of spectral analysis calculated by 4 statistical methods. The results indicate a well-established laminar structure of the ash and evaluate the characteristics of each lamina. The proposed methodology was examined under real-world conditions; a field experiment of 2-m2 parcel with in situ O horizon was flamed and burned out. The field samples illustrated the formation of microlaminas, which proved to be similar to the laboratory samples. This detailed approach may promote a better understanding of the complex nature to the ash, the ash–soil interactions and its effect on the edaphic ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2208-2221
Number of pages14
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Grant 2014299 from the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • fire-induced ash
  • heat-map classification
  • midinfrared spectral features
  • physical properties
  • random forest
  • sequential feature selection
  • soil
  • spectral indices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Development
  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Soil Science


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