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Heating effects on water repellency in Australian eucalypt forest soils and their value in estimating wildfire soil temperatures

Doerr, Stefan H., Blake, William H., Shakesby, Richard A., Stagnitti, Frank, Vuurens, Saskia H., Humphreys, Geoff S. and Walbrink, Peter 2004, Heating effects on water repellency in Australian eucalypt forest soils and their value in estimating wildfire soil temperatures, International journal of wildland fire, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 157-163, doi: 10.1071/WF03051.

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Title Heating effects on water repellency in Australian eucalypt forest soils and their value in estimating wildfire soil temperatures
Author(s) Doerr, Stefan H.
Blake, William H.
Shakesby, Richard A.
Stagnitti, Frank
Vuurens, Saskia H.
Humphreys, Geoff S.
Walbrink, Peter
Journal name International journal of wildland fire
Volume number 13
Issue number 2
Start page 157
End page 163
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Place of publication Collingwood, Vic.
Publication date 2004-06-29
ISSN 1049-8001
1448-5516
Keyword(s) hydrophobicity
eucalyptus
Australia
fire intensity
fire severity
soil ecology
soil hydrology
Summary Wildfires can induce or enhance soil water repellency under a range of vegetation communities. According to mainly USA-based laboratory studies, repellency is eliminated at a maximum soil temperature (T) of 280–400°C. Knowledge of T reached during a wildfire is important in evaluating post-fire soil physical properties, fertility and seedbed status. T is, however, notoriously difficult to ascertain retrospectively and often based on indicative observations with a large potential error. Soils under fire-prone Australian eucalypt forests tend to be water repellent when dry or moderately moist even if long unburnt. This study aims to quantify the temperature of water repellency destruction for Australian topsoil material sampled under three sites with contrasting eucalypt cover (Eucalyptus sieberi, E. ovata and E. baxteri). Soil water repellency was present prior to heating in all samples, increased during heating, but was abruptly eliminated at a specific T between 260 and 340°C. Elimination temperature varied somewhat between samples, but was found to be dependent on heating duration, with longest duration resulting in lowest elimination temperature. Results suggest that post-fire water repellency may be used as an aid in hindcasting soil temperature reached during the passage of a fire within repellency-prone environments.


Language eng
DOI 10.1071/WF03051
Field of Research 050305 Soil Physics
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2004 IAWF
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30008735

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