Re­searchers test soil’s re­cov­ery af­ter fire

Pilbara News - - News -

“At the end of the day, we want the re­sults of our re­search to be use­ful and prac­ti­cal for land man­agers,” UWA re­search as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor Miriam MunozRo­jas said.

“The in­di­ca­tors we recorded will give prac­ti­tion­ers a ref­er­ence point for com­par­i­son.

“They can then con­sider whether the soils they are restor­ing need any amend­ments to im­prove soil qual­ity and func­tion­al­ity.”

The re­searchers found a sin­gle in­di­ca­tor in­suf­fi­cient to un­der­stand the post-fire re­sponse and con­di­tion of soils, rather a com­bi­na­tion of in­di­ca­tors was re­quired.

“We found that mi­cro­bial in­di­ca­tors — such as the pro­por­tion of fungi to bac­te­ria — are very use­ful in­di­ca­tors of post-fire re­cov­ery,” Dr Munoz-Ro­jas said.

To mea­sure mi­cro­bial ac­tiv­ity, re­searchers used the one-day car­bon diox­ide (Solvita) test, a rel­a­tively new method that pro­vides faster and more ef­fec­tive re­sults than tra­di­tional method­olo­gies.

While the test has been widely used in the US, its use in Aus­tralia and for restora­tion-re­lated projects is rel­a­tively new.

Al­though the study’s find­ings re­late to the semi-arid soils of the Pil­bara re­gion, the method­ol­ogy — in­clud­ing the use of the Solvita test — could be ap­plied to other re­gions and ecosys­tems.

The study forms part of a larger pro­ject called the Restora­tion Seed­bank Ini­tia­tive, a part­ner­ship be­tween UWA, BHP Bil­li­ton Iron Ore, and Kings Park and Botanic Gar­den, which will run un­til 2017.

Pic­ture: DPaW

The first year of soil re­cov­ery af­ter fire is crit­i­cal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.