Contents

Title page

Original publications

Definition of some fire-related terms used in this study

1. Introduction

1.1 Occurrence of fires
1.2 Successional stages during burning
1.3 Soil microbes and their environment after fire

1.3.1 Response of soil microbes to fire
1.3.2 Sterilising effect of heat
1.3.3 Changes in soil properties and environment due to fire
1.4 Special features of fire in boreal coniferous forests

2. Aim of the study

3. Material and methods

3.1 Field sites
3.2 Microcosm studies
3.3 Microbiological analyses
3.3.1 Microbial biomass
3.3.2 Activity and growth
3.3.3 Community profiling
3.4 Physico-chemical analyses
3.5 Statistical analyses

4. Results and discussion

4.1 Microbial biomass and activity, and soil chemical properties after prescribed burning and wildfire
4.2 Stabilisation of microbial biomass and activity after prescribed burning
4.3 Reasons for the reduction in microbial biomass and its slow recovery
4.3.1 Clear-cut harvesting
4.3.2 Fire-induced changes in the properties of humus
4.3.3 Charcoal
4.3.4 Other reasons

5. Conclusions

Acknowledgements

References

Papers I-V (only in the printed version)