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Effect of a Spaced Thinning in Mature Lodgepole Pine on Within-Stand Microclimate and Fine Fuel Moisture ContentAuthor(s): R. J. Whitehead; G. L. Russo; B. C. Hawkes; S. W. Taylor; B. N. Brown; H. J. Barclay; R. A. Benton
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. 523-536
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
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DescriptionThinning mature forest stands to wide spacing is prescribed to reduce crown bulk density and likelihood of severe crown fire behaviour. However, it may adversely affect surface fuel load, moisture content and within-stand wind, which influence surface fire behaviour and crowning potential. Comparison of a mature lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. var. latifolia Engelm.) stand in southeastern British Columbia to an adjacent stand with half the basal area removed by thinning to 4 m inter-tree spacing found a decrease in canopy interception of rainfall and increases in solar radiation, windspeed, and near-surface air temperature during peak fire danger hours over 13 fire seasons. Moisture content of needle litter and fuel moisture sticks was measured in both stands in 2005. Between-treatment differences in moisture content of sticks and litter were greatest after rain, but decreased quickly as fuels dried, to very small at moderate fire danger. Prediction of moisture content of lodgepole pine needle litter using the Canadian Fire Weather Index System also improved as fuels dried and worked well for both stands at moderate fire danger. There was only one day at higher fire danger during the study. Further studies should examine physical models of fuel moisture and microclimate under a wider range of stand densities, fuel types and climatic conditions.
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CitationWhitehead, R. J.; Russo, G. L.; Hawkes, B. C.; Taylor, S. W.; Brown, B. N.; Barclay, H. J.; Benton, R. A. 2006. Effect of a Spaced Thinning in Mature Lodgepole Pine on Within-Stand Microclimate and Fine Fuel Moisture Content. 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. 523-536
Keywordsfire, fire ecology, fuels management, spaced thinning, lodgepole pine, Canadian Fire Weather Index System, physical models, fuel moisture, microclimate
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