2004 Volume 19 Issue 2 Pages 154-162
This study was conducted to gain knowledge about how microbial communities are affected by burning, and to know their present conditions at various periods after the occurrence of forest fires. It aimed to determine the microbial community diversity, biomass carbon and microbial abundance in soil. Six different sites in Hiroshima prefecture, Japan were chosen for this study, 5 sites in burned forest areas (2 months, and 3, 6, 9 and 25 years, after fire) and a control site (an undisturbed forest). From a simple count of the number of TRFs (Terminal Restriction Fragments), the burned areas showed low community diversity even many years after fire. The biomass carbon in burned areas was low, even 25 years post fire. In terms of microbial abundance, the overall result showed that the undisturbed forest (control) had the largest number of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi, while of all the burned sites, the area burned 2 months before being studied had the highest microbial count. These results show that forest wildfires can have a long-term effect on microbial biomass, abundance and diversity in soil.