Canadian Forest Service Publications

Forest floor fuel consumption and carbon emissions in Canadian boreal forest fires. 2009. de Groot, W.J.; Pritchard, J.; Lynham, T.J. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 39: 367 - 382.

Year: 2009

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 29376

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/X08-192

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In many forest types, over half of the total stand biomass is located in the forest floor. Carbon emissions during wildland fire are directly related to biomass (fuel) consumption. Consumption of forest floor fuel varies widely and is the greatest source of uncertainty in estimating total carbon emissions during fire. We used experimental burn data (59 burns, four fuel types) and wildfire data (69 plots, four fuel types) to develop a model of forest floor fuel consumption and carbon emissions in nonpeatland standing-timber fuel types. The experimental burn and wildfire data sets were analyzed separately and combined by regression to provide fuel consumption models. Model variables differed among fuel types, but preburn fuel load, duff depth, bulk density, and Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System components at the time of burning were common significant variables. The regression R2 values ranged from 0.206 to 0.980 (P < 0.001). The log–log model for all data combined explained 79.5% of the regression variation and is now being used to estimate annual carbon emissions from wildland fire. Forest floor carbon content at the wildfires ranged from 40.9% to 53.9%, and the carbon emission rate ranged from 0.29 to 2.43 kg·m–2.