February 20 2019

12:00 Hershey Hall 158

Adam Pellegrini
Stanford University

Shifting Fire Regimes and Their Compounding Impact on Ecosystem Biogeochemistry


Each year, fires burn ~570 million hectares, producing carbon losses that are equivalent to ~20% of the emissions from anthropogenic fossil fuel consumption. After fire, the recovery of plants can offset these losses by sequestering carbon during regrowth. Long-term shifts in fire regimes may change the balance between losses and recovery, but multiple factors restrict our ability to forecast such changes. Here I will present data that address the uncertainty in how soils respond to long-term changes in fire regimes and the potential link between soil and plant responses in several ecosystems across the globe. My results demonstrate that more frequent burning leads to decadal alterations in soil carbon and nutrients, and that effects vary predictably based on ecosystem type, the amount of time fire regimes have been altered, and changes in tree biomass. Furthermore, the fire-driven nutrient losses can influence the ability of ecosystems to recover by regulating the distribution of plant functional traits and the feedbacks these traits can have on soil nutrient cycling. I will conclude by discussing the utility of certain plant traits in predicting the resilience of ecosystems.











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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