American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Formation of Post-Fire Water Repellent Layers on Nothofagus glauca (Hualo) Forests, After the Historical “Las Máquinas” Wildfire in South-Central Chile

Pablo A. Garcia-Chevesich, Eduardo Martínez, Alejandro García, Miguel Castillo, Roberto Garfias, Miguel Castillo, Roberto Garfias, Daniel Neary, Roberto Pizarro, Rodrigo Valdés-Pineda, Luis González, Héctor L. Venegas-Quiñones and Carlos Magni

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2019.1.6

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 15, Issue 1

Pages 1-6

Abstract

The Chilean summer of 2017 was the worst wildfire season by far. Hundreds of wildfires burned a total of more than half a million hectares of forested land (native forests and forest plantations). A significant portion of the burned area was occupied by Hualo (Nothofagus glauca (Phil.) Krasser), a native forest species widely distributed in central Chile. Using the water-drop-penetration-time method, post-fire water repellency was evaluated at different depths (on the mineral soil surface and 5 mm below it) for a Hualo stand. Comparative data were obtained from a neighboring 11-year-old Monterrey pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) plantation. Both stands were located near Santa Olga, one of the towns that were totally consumed by the wildfire. A Chi-Square statistical analysis was used to determine significant differences among stands and soil depths. Results suggested that the abundant Hualo native forest species exhibited strong potentials to form fire-induced water repellent layers. Differences were mainly in depth between the two species. As wildfires in Chile are expected to increase in frequency and intensity, the authors strongly recommend post-fire flood control practices on Hualo-burned drainage areas located upstream from human settlements, as well as erosion and sediment control techniques to avoid post-fire desertification processes.

Copyright

© 2019 Pablo A. Garcia-Chevesich, Eduardo Martínez, Alejandro García, Miguel Castillo, Roberto Garfias, Miguel Castillo, Roberto Garfias, Daniel Neary, Roberto Pizarro, Rodrigo Valdés-Pineda, Luis González, Héctor L. Venegas-Quiñones and Carlos Magni. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.