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1 October 2018 Characterizing Forest Floor Fuels Surrounding Large Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana) in the Klamath Mountains, California
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Fire exclusion has contributed to substantial basal accumulations of forest floor fuels in many historically fire-prone forests in western North America. These accumulations can contribute to undesired impacts (e.g., elevated tree mortality, more smoke production). Thus, managers interested in limiting some of these impacts require a better understanding of the spatial factors contributing to forest floor fuel variation in long-unburned forests. To address this need, we measured the forest floor mound size and depth of each layer at four distances from the tree (base, half, edge, and beyond) in each cardinal direction from the tree, and a subset of density measures for each layer and position around 25 large sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana) in the Klamath Mountains of California. Based on our study we found: 1) duff depths were greater than litter depths and both decreased with distance from tree; 2) duff densities were typically greater than litter but were highly variable with distance to tree; 3) litter and duff depths were positively correlated with loading; 4) use of a previously developed depth-to-loading equation performed well, but tended to underestimate litter loading and overestimate duff loading; and 5) tree size was the most strongly related to basal accumulations of forest floor fuels. Our results indicate there are consistent tree characteristics that can help predict the accumulation of forest floor fuels. This research can help provide managers with site-specific equations to inform fuel and fire treatments in areas with substantial basal accumulation in forests with large sugar pine.
© 2018 by the Northwest Scientific Association. All rights reserved.
Angelo A. DiMario, Jeffrey M. Kane and Erik S. Jules "Characterizing Forest Floor Fuels Surrounding Large Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana) in the Klamath Mountains, California," Northwest Science 92(3), (1 October 2018).
Received: 5 May 2017; Accepted: 3 May 2018; Published: 1 October 2018

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