Biomass burning in the tropical savannas of Ivory Coast: An overview of the field experiment Fire of Savannas (FOS/DECAFE 91)
- Cite this article as:
- Lacaux, J.P., Brustet, J.M., Delmas, R. et al. J Atmos Chem (1995) 22: 195. doi:10.1007/BF00708189
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FOS/DECAFE 91 (Fire of Savannas/Dynamique et Chimie Atmosphérique en Forêt Equatoriale) was the first multidisciplinary experiment organized in Africa to determine gas and aerosol emissions by prescribed savanna fires. The humid savanna of Lamto in Ivory Coast was chosen for its ecological characteristics representative of savannas with a high biomass density (≈900 g m−2 dry matter). Moreover the vegetation and the climate of Lamto have been studied for more than twenty years. The emission ratios (ΔX/ΔCO2) of the carbon compounds (CO2, CO, NMHC, CH4, PAH, organic acids and aerosols), nitrogen compounds (NOx, N2O, NH3 and soluble aerosols) and sulfur compounds (SO2, COS and aerosols) were experimentally determined by ground and aircraft measurements. To perform this experiment, 4 small plots (100×100 m) and 2 large areas (10×10 km) were prepared and burnt in January 1991 during the period of maximum occurrence of fires in this type of savanna. The detailed ecological study shows that the carbon content of the vegetation is constant within 1% (42 g C for 100 g of vegetal dry matter), the nitrogen content (0.29 g N for 100 g of dry matter) may vary by 10% and the sulfur content (0.05 g S/100 d.m.) by 20%. These variations of the biomass chemical content do not constitute an important factor in the variation of the gas and particle emission levels. With the emission ratios characteristic of humid savanna and flaming conditions (ΔCO/ΔCO2 of 6.1% at the ground and 8% for airborne measurements), we propose a set of new emission factors, taking into account the burning efficiency which is about 80%: 74.4% of the carbon content of the savanna biomass is released to the atmosphere in the form of CO2, 4.6% as CO, 0.2% as CH4, 0.5% as NMHC and 0.7% as aerosols. 17.2% of the nitrogen content of the biomass is released as NOx, 3.5% as N2O, 0.6% as NH3 and 0.5% as soluble aerosols.