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Understanding Ozark Forest Litter Variability Through a Synthesis of Accumulation Rates and Fire EventsAuthor(s): Michael C. Stambaugh; Richard P. Guyette; Keith W. Grabner; Jeremy Kolaks
Source: In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings. 28-30 March 2006; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 321-332
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
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DescriptionMeasuring success of fuels management is improved by understanding rates of litter accumulation and decay in relation to disturbance events. Despite the broad ecological importance of litter, little is known about the parameters of accumulation and decay rates in Ozark forests. Previously published estimates were used to derive accumulation rates and combined litter measurements, model estimates, and fire scar history data were used to derive a decay constant (k = 0.38). We used accumulation equations to demonstrate temporal changes in litter loading. For example, after a fire event that consumes nearly 100 percent of the litter, about 50 percent of the litter accumulation equilibrium is reached within 2 years, 75 percent within 4 years, and the equilibrium (99 percent accumulation) after approximately 12 years. These results can be used to determine the appropriate prescribed burning intervals for a desired fire severity. For example, fire history data show that the percentage of trees scarred, a surrogate for fire severity, is influenced by the length of historic fire intervals (i.e., amount of litter accumulated). This information will be incorporated into regional fire risk assessments and can be used as a basic knowledge of litter dynamics for both fire management planning and forest ecosystem understanding.
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CitationStambaugh, Michael C.; Guyette, Richard P.; Grabner, Keith W.; Kolaks, Jeremy. 2006. Understanding Ozark Forest Litter Variability Through a Synthesis of Accumulation Rates and Fire Events. In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings. 28-30 March 2006; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 321-332
Keywordsfire, fire ecology, fuels management, litter variability, Ozark forests, fire risk assessments, fire management planning
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