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Influence of Crown Biomass Estimators and Distribution on Canopy Fuel Characteristics in Ponderosa Pine Stands of the Black Hills

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Abstract:

Two determinants of crown fire hazard are canopy bulk density (CBD) and canopy base height (CBH). The Fire and Fuels Extension to the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FFE-FVS) is a model that predicts CBD and CBH. Currently, FFE-FVS accounts for neither geographic variation in tree allometries nor the nonuniform distribution of crown mass when one is estimating CBH and CBD. We develop allometric equations specific to ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex Laws.) in the Black Hills to predict crown mass and use the Weibull distribution to model the vertical distribution of crown mass within individual trees. We present parameter prediction models that, in turn, predict the vertical distribution of crown mass based on stand- and tree-level attributes. With use of an FFE-FVS executable incorporating local crown mass equations and the parameter prediction models, new estimates of CBD and CBH were produced. Locally derived biomass equations predicted substantially greater estimates of foliage mass than currently predicted by FFE-FVS. The increase in CBD resulting from the local biomass and vertical distribution models averaged 78% over original estimates. Our results suggest that locally derived crown mass equations in addition to nonuniform estimates of crown mass distribution be used to calculate CBH and CBD as used in fire prediction models.

Keywords: canopy base height; canopy bulk density; crown allometry; crown biomass distribution; fire hazard

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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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