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The Effect of Soil Water on Ground Fuel Availability

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A determination of ground fuel hydration was carried out in an aspen forest in Alberta, Canada. The objectives of the study were: (1) to determine the relative contribution of precipitation and soil water to the upper and lower ground fuel layers, (2) to determine if the moisture status of these layers was affected by slope position (bottom, mid, and top) or distance to a water body, and (3) to determine the drying rates for these two fuel layers. Results showed that upper and lower downed and dead fuels were hydrated by soil water as well as precipitation and that both sources contributed significantly to fuel moisture. During the period May 20 to September 20, 1990, precipitation and soil water contributed about 64% and 36% of the water to fuel moisture contents to the upper layer, and 41% and 59% to the lower layer, respectively. Fuel moisture contents varied significantly by slope position. The bottom slope position was always the wettest, while the fuel moisture contents in the other two positions were similar. In the absence of hydration, the upper and lower litter layers reached equilibrium moisture contents of 15% and almost 22%, respectively, but never dried out completely. For. Sci. 41(2):255-267.

Keywords: Alberta; Aspen Parkland; Boreal Forest; Canadian Fire Weather Index; Fuel moisture; fire danger rating

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Forest Hydrologist, Department of Forest Science, University of Alberta, 751 General Services Building. Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H1, Canada

Publication date: May 1, 1995

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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