Research Topic

Fire and the Forest Soil-Carbon Cycle – Direct Impacts, Controls, and Ecosystem Feedbacks

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About this Research Topic

Forest soils are of the largest terrestrial reservoirs of organic carbon, and knowledge of the processes regulating the cycling of this carbon is important in understanding changes in atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. Fire is common to all forest biomes and has multiple impacts on the soil-carbon ...

Forest soils are of the largest terrestrial reservoirs of organic carbon, and knowledge of the processes regulating the cycling of this carbon is important in understanding changes in atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. Fire is common to all forest biomes and has multiple impacts on the soil-carbon cycle, both directly and indirectly through ecosystem feedbacks. Changes to processes controlling soil carbon cycling are currently being driven by a combination of climate change (warming, seasonality, precipitation), altered fire regimes (frequency, severity, seasonality), and a range of ecosystem feedbacks (variations in plant mortality, community composition, and regrowth, microbial community dynamics, hydrologic processes).

This Research Topic will focus on original research and review papers on the topic of fire and the forest soil-carbon cycle. Of particular interest are:
- Original research papers focused on direct impacts of fire on soil carbon, including research on controls on combustion of litter and organic carbon, impacts on soil decomposition from microbial communities, and macroinvertebrates, and the chemical nature of carbon storage (including black carbon).
- Papers focusing on the impacts of fire on ecosystem processes influencing soil-carbon cycling are appropriate, including: soil hydrology; plant mortality and regeneration, reproduction, species composition, and growth; carbon/nitrogen/ phosphorus/sulfur cycle interactions; and the fate of dead woody debris are encouraged.
- Also appropriate are papers reporting on drivers of changes to fire regimes affecting forests and the impacts of fire emissions on atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.
- In addition, review papers are also encouraged. In particular, papers that synthesize research on specific soil-carbon processes common to different forest types (for example, combustion of deep organic soils or peats), or for important processes in the same forest types that are geographically dispersed (e.g., temperate or boreal forests located in North America, Europe, Asia/Far East, or tropical forests located in North, Central, and South America, Africa and Eurasia) are encouraged.


Keywords: Forest soils, Forest fires, Carbon, Soil-carbon cycle, Climate change, Ecosystem feedbacks


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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