Kamil Sh. Kazeev, Dr.Sc., Professor, Professor of the Department of Ecology and Nature Management of the Southern Federal University (344090, Rostov-on-Don, Pr. Stachki, 194/1); e-mail:
Tatyana A. Poltoratskaya, Student of the Southern Federal University (344090, Rostov-on-Don, Pr. Stachki, 194/1).
Anastasia S. Yakimova, Student of the Southern Federal University (344090, Rostov-on-Don, Pr. Stachki, 194/1).
Mary Yu. Odobashyan, PhD Student of the Southern Federal University (344090, Rostov-on-Don, Pr. Stachki, 194/1).
Aslan K. Shkhapatsev, PhD, Associate Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Technology of the Maykop State Technological University.
Sergey I. Kolesnikov, Dr.Sc., Professor of the Department of Ecology and Nature Management of the Southern Federal University (344090, Rostov-on-Don, Pr. Stachki, 194/1); e-mail:

Reference to article

Kazeev K.Sh., Poltoratskaya T.A., Yakimova A.S., Odobashyan M.Yu., Shkhapatsev A.K., Kolesnikov S.I. 2019. Post-fire changes in the biological properties of the brown soils in the Utrish State Nature Reserve (Russia). Nature Conservation Research 4(Suppl.1): 93–104.

Section Resarch articles

The unique ecosystems of the Abraus peninsula on the Caucasian Black Sea coast persisted in the Utrish State Nature Reserve (Russia), are represented by dry Eastern Mediterranean subtropics with a large number of endemics and relics that have been persisted from the Tertiary period. This is one of the few places in Russia where juniper pistachio (Pistacia atlantica, Juniperus excelsa, J. foetidissima, J. oxycedrus) woodlands grow. In 2016–2018, a study was conducted on the content of the biological properties of brown soils in two areas of the Abraus peninsula. The main focus is on the monitoring of Vodopadnaya shchel' on the Utrish State Nature Reserve monitoring site, located in the post-fire area of juniper woodland (Pistacia atlantica, Juniperus excelsa, J. foetidissima, J. oxycedrus) at an altitude of 110–140 m a.s.l. on the southern spurs of the Ridge Navagir. The fire happened in 2009. Additionally, in April 2018, the site of the burnt area of 2013 was investigated in the immediate vicinity of the Sukhaya shchel' of the Utrish State Nature Reserve. The area of the burnt site was several hectares including violation of terrestrial vegetation and changes in the ecological state of the soil. We have demonstrated that brown soils are rare for Russia (Cromic Cambisol and Cromi-Leptic Luvisol according to the WRB international classification). But these are widespread in most parts of the Abraus peninsula, including the Utrish State Nature Reserve. The main features of brown soils include the brown colour of the soil profile; intense textural lining of the middle part of the soil profile; eluvial-illuvial type of decarbonisation closed to neutral reaction of the environment; soil richness with elements of mineral nutrition. The studied soils in the Utrish State Nature Reserve are characterised by higher stoniness and rubble, no carbonate growths, fragmentation of the forest floor due to the low-mountain dissected relief of the territory. We have studied the ecological and biological properties of these soils in response to fire (e.g. temperature, moisture, soil bulk density, organic carbon and carbonate content, bacteria abundance, catalase, peroxidase, dehydrogenase, and invertase activities). In the grass-shrub stage, the restorative succession was in both burnt areas. The fire had a significant effect on the ecological and biological properties of brown soils 5–9 years after the fire impact. Many of the biological properties of post-fire soils differed significantly in comparison with the properties of control areas of juniper light forest. The organic carbon content and biological activity of post-fire soils as a whole are reduced as compared with the soils of control areas of juniper light forest. In this case, a high variation of the biological parameters of the soil was noted in different parts of the same burnt area. The variation is associated both with the peculiarities of the mountain relief, and with the nature of the vegetation, which forms refugia different in the number of plant residues. The rate of carbon dioxide production in the surface horizons of the burnt area soil is more than 2 times lower than the values in control areas. Five years after the fire, the post-fire soil of the Sukhaya shchel' area contained almost half of the humus content at the 5 cm surface layer compared to the soil of the control area of juniper woodlands. At a depth of 15–25 cm, the difference between the soils areas remained at the same level as for the upper horizons. Thus, we demonstrated a significant effect of fires on the biological parameters of the subtropical soils in the Utrish State Nature Reserve, which has been persisted for many years.


biological activity, extracellular enzyme activities, pyrogenic effect, soil organic carbon, wildfire

Artice information

Received: 03.02.2019. Revised: 28.04.2019. Accepted: 23.07.2019.

The full text of the article

Adam G., Duncan H. 2001. Development of a sensitive and rapid method for the measurement of total microbial activity using fluorescein diacetate (FDA) in a range of soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 33(7–8): 943–951. DOI: 10.1016/S0038-0717(00)00244-3
Adkins J., Sanderman J., Miesel J. 2019. Soil carbon pools and fluxes vary across a burn severity gradient three years after wildfire in Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forest. Geoderma 333: 10–22. DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2018.07.009
Alcañiz M., Outeiro L., Francos M., Farguell J., Úbeda X. 2016. Long-term dynamics of soil chemical properties after a prescribed fire in a Mediterranean forest (Montgrí Massif, Catalonia, Spain). Science of the Total Environment 572: 1329–1335. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.01.115
Bünemann G.E.K., Bongiorno G., Bai Z., Creamer R.E., De Deyn G., de Goede R., Fleskens L., Geissen V., Kuyper T.W., Mäder P., Pulleman M., Sukkel W., van Groenigen J.W., Brussaard L. 2018. Soil quality – A critical review. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 120: 105–125. DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2018.01.030
Burns R.G., DeForest J.L., Jürgen M., Sinsabaugh R.L., Stromberger M.E., Wallenstein M.D., Weintraub M.N., Zoppini A. 2013. Soil enzymes in a changing environment: Current knowledge and future directions. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 58: 216–234. DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2012.11.009
Catalanotti A.E., Giuditta E., Marzaioli R., Ascoli D., Esposito A., Strumia S., Mazzoleni S., Rutigliano F.A. 2018. Effects of single and repeated prescribed burns on soil organic C and microbial activity in a Pinus halepensis plantation of Southern Italy. Applied Soil Ecology 125: 108–116. DOI: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2017.12.015
Dadenko E.V., Kazeev K.S., Kolesnikov S.I., Valkov V.F. 2009. Changes in the enzymatic activity of soil samples upon their storage. Eurasian Soil Science 42(12): 1380–1385.
Dadenko E.V., Myasnikova M.A., Kazeev K.Sh., Kolesnikov S.I., Valkov V.F. 2014. Biological activity of ordinary chernozem with long-term use under arable land. Eurasian Soil Science 6: 724–733. [In Russian]
Demina O.N., Rogal L.L., Suslova E.G., Dmitriev P.A., Kozhin M.N., Seregin A.P., Bykhalova O.N. 2015. Synopsis of the flora of the State Natural Reserve «Utrish». Zhivye i biokosnye sistemy 13. Available from [In Russian]
Dose H.L., Fortuna A.M., Cihacek L.J., Norland J., DeSutter T.M., Clay D.E., Bell J. 2015. Biological indicators provide short term soil health assessment during sodic soil reclamation. Ecological Indicators 58: 244–253. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.05.059
Fernández-García V., Miesel J., Baeza M.J., Marcos E., Calvo L. 2019. Wildfire effects on soil properties in fire-prone pine ecosystems: Indicators of burn severity legacy over the medium term after fire. Applied Soil Ecology 135: 147–156. DOI: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2018.12.002
Fonseca F., Figueiredo T., Nogueira C., Queirós A. 2017. Effect of prescribed fire on soil properties and soil erosion in a Mediterranean mountain area. Geoderma 307: 172–180. DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2017.06.018
Francos M., Úbeda X., Pereira P., Alcañiz M. 2018. Long-term impact of wildfire on soils exposed to different fire severities. A case study in Cadiretes Massif (NE Iberian Peninsula). Science of the Total Environment 615: 664–671. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.311
Galstyan A.Sh. 1978. Unification of methods for studying the activity of soil enzymes. Eurasian Soil Science 2: 107–114. [In Russian]
Girona-García A., Badía-Villas D., Martí-Dalmau C., Ortiz-Perpíña O., Mora J.L., Armas-Herrera C.M. 2018. Effects of prescribed fire for pasture management on soil organic matter and biological properties: A 1-year study case in the Central Pyrenees. Science of the Total Environment 618: 1079–1087. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.127
Gongalsky K.B. 2011. The spatial distribution of large soil invertebrates on burned areas in xerophilous ecosystems of the Black sea coast of the Caucasus. Arid Ecosystems 1(4): 260–266. DOI: 10.1134/S2079096111040068
Hobley E.U., Le Gay Brereton A.J., Wilson B. 2017. Forest burning affects quality and quantity of soil organic matter. Science of the Total Environment 575: 41–49. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.09.231
Hugh H.A.L. 2012. Soil extracellular enzyme dynamics in a changing climate. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 47: 53–59. DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2011.12.026
Jongman R.G.G., Ter Braak S.J.F., Van Torgeren O.F.R. 1995. Data Analysis in Community and Landscape Ecology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 324 p.
Kazeev K.S., Kutrovskii M.A., Dadenko E.V., Vezdeneeva L.S., Kolesnikov S.I., Valkov V.F. 2012. The influence of carbonates in parent rocks on the biological properties of mountain soils of the northwest Caucasus region. Eurasian Soil Science 45(3): 282–289. DOI: 10.1134/S1064229312030052
Kazeev K.Sh., Kolesnikov S.I., Akimenko Yu.V., Dadenko E.V. 2016. Methods of bio-diagnostics of terrestrial ecosystems. Rostov-on-Don: Southern Federal University. 356 p. [In Russian]
Kazeev K.Sh., Kolesnikov S.I., Bykhalova O.N. 2013. Brown soils of the Utrish Reserve. In: Biodiversity of the Utrish State Nature Reserve. Vol. 1. Anapa. P. 154–163. [In Russian]
Kazeev K.Sh., Kolesnikov S.I., Valkov V.F. 2003. Biological diagnostics and indication of soils: methodology and research methods. Rostov-on-Don: Rostov State University. 204 p. [In Russian]
Kazeev K.Sh., Kolesnikov S.I., Valkov V.F. 2004. Soil biology of the South of Russia. Rostov-on-Don: Publisher of CVVR. 350 p. [In Russian]
Khanina L.G., Smirnov V.E., Romanov M.S., Bobrovsky M.V. 2018. Effect of spring grass fires on vegetation patterns and soil quality in abandoned agricultural lands at local and landscape scales in Central European Russia. Ecological Processes 7: 38. DOI: 10.1186/s13717-018-0150-8
Khaziev F.Kh. 2005. Methods of soil enzymology. Moscow: Nauka. 252 p. [In Russian]
Kuleshova L.V., Korotkov V.N., Potapova N.A., Evstigneev O.I., Kozlenko A.B., Rusanova O.M. 1996. Complex analysis of post-fire successions in the forests of the Kostomuksha State Nature Reserve (Karelia). Bulletin of Moscow Society of Naturalists 101(4): 3–15. [In Russian]
Kutrovsky M.A., Valkov V.F., Kazeev K.Sh., Kolesnikov S.I. 2008. Ecological features of rendzin of the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus. University news. North-Caucasian region. Natural sciences series 6: 97–101. [In Russian]
Lucas-Borja M.E., Calsamiglia A., Fortesa J., García-Comendador J., Guardiola E.L., García-Orenes F., Gago J., Estrany J. 2018. The role of wild fire on soil quality in abandoned terraces of three Mediterranean micro-catchments. Catena 170: 246–256. DOI: 10.1016/j.catena.2018.06.014
Magzanova D.K., Khiyalieva R.G. 2013. Investigation of the influence of field fires on the state of soil microbiocenosis. Advances in Modern Natural Science 4: 160–161. [In Russian]
Maksimova E.Y., Abakumov E.V., Kudinova A.G. 2017. Functional activity of soil microbial communities in post-fire pine stands of Tolyatti, Samara oblast. Eurasian Soil Science 50(2): 239–245. DOI: 10.1134/S1064229317020119
Moya D., González-De Vega, Lozano E., García-Orenes F., Mataix-Solera J., Lucas-Borja M.E., de Las Heras J. 2019. The burn severity and plant recovery relationship affect the biological and chemical soil properties of Pinus halepensis Mill. stands in the short and midterms after wildfire. Journal of Environmental Management 235: 250–256. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.01.029
Odabashyan M.Yu., Trushkov A.V., Kazeev K.Sh., Kolesnikov S.I. 2017. The influence of the fall on the enzymatic activity of chernozem. Proceedings of Samara Scientific Centre of RAS 19(2–3): 482–485. [In Russian]
Pingree M.R.A., DeLuca T.H. 2018. The influence of fire history on soil nutrients and vegetation cover in mixed-severity fire regime forests of the eastern Olympic Peninsula, Washington, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 422: 95–107. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2018.03.037
Raiesi F., Salek-Gilani S. 2018. The potential activity of soil extracellular enzymes as an indicator for ecological restoration of rangeland soils after agricultural abandonment. Applied Soil Ecology 126: 140–147. DOI: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2018.02.022
Valkov V.F., Kazadaev A.A., Kremenitsa A.M., Suprun V.A., Sukhanova V.M., Tashchiev S.S. 1996. The effect of stubble burning on chernozem biota. Eurasian Soil Science 29(12): 1412–1416. [In Russian]
Valkov V.F., Kazeev K.Sh., Kolesnikov S.I. Kutrovsky M.A. 2007. Soil formation on limestone and marl. Rostov-on-Don: Rostizdat. 198 p. [In Russian]
Valkov V.F., Kazeev K.Sh., Kolesnikov S.I. 2008. Soils of the South of Russia. Rostov-on-Don: Everest Publishing House. 276 p. [In Russian]
Vassoevich N.B. 1948. Flysch and methods of its study. Leningrad; Moscow: Gostoptekhizdat. 216 p. [In Russian]
Wardle D.A., Nilsson M.C., Zackrisson O. 2008. Fire-derived charcoal causes loss of forest humus. Science 320(5876): 629–630. DOI: 10.1126/science.1154960