Effect of forest fire on changes in the content of total and available forms of selected heavy metals and catalase activity in soil

Agata Bartkowiak 1  and Joanna Lemanowicz 2
  • 1 UTP University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Department of Soil Science Protection, 85-029, Bydgoszcz, Poland
  • 2 UTP University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Sub-Department of Biochemistry, 85-029, Bydgoszcz, Poland


The aim of the paper was to assess the effect of forest fire on the content of total and available forms of zinc, copper, lead, nickel and cadmium, as well as the activity of catalase in soil. The study was performed directly (2012) and a year after the fire (2013). The fire had a significant effect on the content of those heavy metals in surface horizons, however, it did not result in their rapid growth. The concentrations of total forms of metals did not exceed the norms provided for in Regulation of the Polish Minister of the Environment. The soil samples analysed can be considered unpolluted with those metals. The availability coefficients calculated showed an unfavourable higher availability of lead and cadmium over zinc and copper. The statistical analysis showed a significant effect of fire on the activity of catalase. Resistance of soil (RS) for catalase demonstrated lower values in the year 2012 as compared with 2013 (except for B soil). The calculated values of time index (TI) pointed to the activation of the enzyme a year after the fire. The Ward clustering method facilitated determining similarities between the sites in two research years (2012 and 2013) with the selected soil parameters. With the PCA method a negative effect of fire was identified.

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