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Title: Forest fires and their effect on chemical and physical properties of soils in North-eastern-Libya : assessment of the changes in soil chemical and physical properties of soils in North-eastern-Libya
Author: Eldiabani, Gibrel Salah
ISNI:       0000 0004 2712 9664
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2011
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Forest areas are particularly susceptible to fires, which are often manmade. Too-frequent fires are likely to adversely affect the soil properties as well as vegetation composition, and possibly lead to soil erosion and desertification. One of the most fire affected forest regions in the world is the Mediterranean. Libya, in the Mediterranean region, has soils that are considered to be arid except in a small area called Aljabal Alakhdar (Green mountain), which is the geographic area covered by this study. It is the wettest part of Libya, and has an extensive forest and many agricultural crops. Like other forests in the Mediterranean it has suffered extreme degradation. This is mainly due to people removing fire wood, or sometimes converting forested areas to agricultural use, as well as fires which may alter several soil chemical and physical properties. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the effects of fires on the physical and chemical properties of soil of Aljabal Alakhdar forest in the north-east of Libya. The physical and chemical properties of soil following fire in two geographic areas have been determined, with those subjected to the fire compared to those in adjacent unburned areas in one coastal and one mountain site. Physical properties studied were: soil particle size, soil water content, soil porosity and soil particle density; and chemical properties studied were: soil electrical conductivity (EC), soil pH, soluble and exchangeable Na, K, Ca and Mg, cation exchange capacity (CEC), soluble Cl, CO3 and HCO3, SO4, organic matter, total N and total P. For the first time in Libyan soils, the effect of burning on the magnetic susceptibility properties of soils was also tested. The results showed that except for the soil water content and magnetic susceptibility, fire has not had a clear effect on the soils' physical properties, while there has been a strong impact of fire on most of the studied chemical properties. These results have been used to create an index of burning for such soils in each of the geographic areas, as a step towards creating a model which will enable a subset of soil parameters to be used to estimate how recently a site was burned, as well as defining fire severity at a site.
Supervisor: Hale, William H. G. ; Heron, Carl P. ; Cotton, David Edward Sponsor: Libyan Government
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Libya ; Aljabal Alakhdar ; Ras Alhelal ; Marawah ; Fire impact ; Soil: physical and chemical properties ; Forest fires