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Modeling postfire conifer mortality for long-range planning

Abstract

A model is presented for predicting mortality of conifers after wildfire. The model requires stand data inputs and is linked with a mathematical fire behavior model that calculates fireline intensity. Fraction of crown volume killed is calculated for each species in a stand based on mensurational data. Duration of lethal heat at the base of trees is calculated from fuel consumption and burning time values. Fraction of crown volume killed and the ratio of critical time for cambial kill to duration of lethal heat are independent variables in a function that calculates probability of mortality. The model produces reasonable estimates of stand mortality for fire and site characteristics found in the northern Rocky Mountains, USA. It has a broad resolution appropriate for use in fire management planning and has potential applications for coniferous forests throughout the United States.

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Correspondence to David L. Peterson.

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Peterson, D.L., Ryan, K.C. Modeling postfire conifer mortality for long-range planning. Environmental Management 10, 797–808 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01867732

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Key words

  • Crown damage
  • Fuels
  • Northern Rocky Mountains
  • Timber
  • Wildfire