Although prescribed fire has been employed as a land management tool for thousands of years, the lasting effect of these events on nutrient cycling, especially the response of micronutrients (elements essential in small amounts for plant growth), is still being explored. This study aimed to quantify the responses of micronutrients to the burning of slash piles within a forested and meadow site in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. At these locations, boron, zinc, and manganese increased following the fire event and ash incorporation, whereas iron decreased and copper had no response. The effects of the fire persisted through at least the following winter season for most nutrients in the forest sites, but the meadow sites appeared to recover from the burn event more rapidly, likely due to differences in the quality of litter as well as the wetter hydrologic regime and chemical properties of the soil type. When applying prescribed fire to ecosystems, care should be taken to limit burn intensity and temperature fluctuations in areas where recovery may occur over longer time scales.

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