Fire and land-use changes influence vegetation types and alter below-ground carbon storage and soil characteristics; additionally, shrub-steppe environments are prone to cheatgrass invasion and subsequent alterations in soil morphology and characteristics following fire. We compared soil particle size, texture, consistence, structure, color and pH among adjacent but distinct sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp.), cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) communities established following a 1983 fire in Kuna Butte of southwestern Idaho, a site underlain by basalt and mantled with loess. Soil characteristics were compared in qualitative field soil proﬁles (two pits per vegetation type) and laboratory hydrometer analyses from paired sites in different vegetation types. Our data does not support differences in soil particle size (silt, clay, sand) among vegetation types; however, particle size and distribution varied with depth within a single soil pit. Field texture classifications and hydrometer results indicate silt-loam was the most common soil type. This study shows no substantive change in soil texture with change in vegetation type; similarities in soil textures could be due to 1) insufficient time for manifestation of soil development following fire and establishment of vegetation, 2) inadequate sampling and/or sample distribution, 3) minimal influence of vegetation type on underlying soil characteristics.
McCormick, Maeve; Gagne, Xavier; and Pierce, Jennifer, "Does Wildfire and Cheatgrass Invasion in a Sage-steppe Ecosystem Change Soil Texture?" (2014). College of Arts and Sciences Presentations. Paper 57.