Alvarez A., Gracia M., Retana J. (2012) Fuel types and crown fire potential in Pinus halepensis forests. European Journal of Forest Research. 131: 463-474.EnllaçDoi: 10.1007/s10342-011-0520-6
There is a lack of knowledge to identify and classify forest structures according to the risk of crown fires, especially in Mediterranean regions. In this study, for the first time, we use real information, obtained after a wildfire that burnt under extreme meteorological conditions, to classify forest structures of Pinus halepensis into fuel types as a function of crown fire potential. We identified fourteen forest structures which characterize many forest types in Western Mediterranean areas depending on canopy closure, number of tree layers, percent of each tree layer and overall tree density. By using the pattern of fire types that burnt the most numerous forest structures, we have identified four fire hazard groups of forest structures which are considered different fuel types. The first two had the lowest risk of active crown fires and they differed in the proportion of surface fires and passive crown fires. The third fuel type was the threshold between structures with low and high extreme fire behavior; while the fourth had a high risk of active crown fires. Firefighters and forest managers who are demanding this kind of schema, will test and upgrade this classification of fuel types in function of crown fire potential during future wildfires. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.
Alvarez A., Gracia M., Vayreda J., Retana J. (2012) Patterns of fuel types and crown fire potential in Pinus halepensis forests in the Western Mediterranean Basin. Forest Ecology and Management. 270: 282-290.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2011.01.039
Using the databases from the Spanish Forest Inventories, we have classified the forest structures of Pinus halepensis plots across the Iberian Peninsula into different fuel types as a function of the most common fire types that can be supported. The purposes of this study are to determine (i) the proportion of the different fuel types and fire type associated with different disturbance scenarios (undisturbed, after a recent wildfire, after an old wildfire and after thinning), (ii) the effect of climate and soil type on the distribution of fuel types and (iii) the effect of the different disturbance scenarios on the transitions between these fuel types. After a recent wildfire the risk of spreading active crown fires was reduced but the risk increased with time since last fire and in undisturbed areas. Climate and stoniness influenced the spatial distribution of fuel types and the potential crown fire risk. There was a lower risk of active crown fires when there was higher aridity and higher stoniness. Disturbances modify the transitions between fuel types; after a wildfire there was the highest change in fuel types with an increase of fuel type one with open forest structures and the presence of plots without trees that are linked to lower risk of active crown fires. There was also a reduction of fuel types 3 and 4, which burn with high intensity during a wildfire. In the absence of disturbances or after an old wildfire, changes between fuel types were slow, usually leading to increasing canopy closure and higher risk of active crown fires. After thinning there were also important changes in fuel types, with a reduction of active crown fire risk after thinning from below and heavy thinning. Fire plays an important role in maintaining landscape heterogeneity. As a consequence of climate warming, new areas with high structural continuity will increase the risk of extreme fire behavior, and for this reason, small wildfires and specific thinning treatments are the key to reduce crown fire potential. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
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