Soil respiration (the flux of CO2 released by the soil due to microbial and root respiration and organic matter decomposition) can be affected by fire (Qu et al., 2009, Richards et al., 2012, Ryu et al., 2009). After the 2018 Woolsey Fire in the Santa Monica Mountains, we hypothesized that soil respiration would be greater in unburned soil than in burned soil. This is because fire can decrease soil nutrient concentration, which could decrease soil microbial concentration and also because fire could burn and kill soil microbes and roots. To test this relationship, we recorded soil respiration on three separate days at the same time of day during the month of March in a burned site and an adjacent unburned site of the Santa Monica Mountains. Contrary to our hypothesis, we found that soil respiration is significantly higher in the burned site than the unburned site. These results could have been due to the fire having a cool rather than hot burn at the burned site tested.
Jones, Sydney C.; Kim, Micah S.; Ball, Sierra H.; and Davis, Stephen D., "Soil Respiration in Burned and Unburned Sites of the Santa Monica Mountains" (2019). Pepperdine University, Featured Research. Paper 160.