Possible land management uses of common cypress to reduce wildfire initiation risk: a laboratory study

Possible land management uses of common cypress to reduce wildfire initiation risk: a laboratory... Accurate determination of flammability is required in order to improve knowledge about vegetation fire risk. Study of the flammability of different plant species is essential for the Mediterranean area, where most ecosystems are adapted to natural fire but vulnerable to recurrent human-induced fires, which are the main cause of forest degradation. However, the methods used to evaluate vegetation flammability have not yet been standardized. Cupressus sempervirens is a native or naturalized forest tree species in the Mediterranean area that is able to tolerate prolonged drought and high temperatures. The aim of this study was to characterize the flammability of C. sempervirens var. horizontalis at particle level by using different bench-scale calorimetry techniques (mass loss calorimeter, epiradiator and oxygen bomb) to determine the main flammability descriptors (ignitability, sustainability, combustibility and consumability) in live crown and litter samples. Our findings indicate that this variety of cypress is relatively resistant to ignition because of the high ash content, the high critical heat flux, the high time to ignition displayed by both crown and litter samples and the ability of the leaves to maintain a high water content during the summer. We also discuss the possibility of exploiting some morphological, functional and ecological traits of the species to construct a barrier system (with selected varieties of cypress) as a promising complementary land management tool to reduce the fire spread and intensity in a Mediterranean context. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Environmental Management Elsevier

Possible land management uses of common cypress to reduce wildfire initiation risk: a laboratory study

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0301-4797
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.05.020
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Accurate determination of flammability is required in order to improve knowledge about vegetation fire risk. Study of the flammability of different plant species is essential for the Mediterranean area, where most ecosystems are adapted to natural fire but vulnerable to recurrent human-induced fires, which are the main cause of forest degradation. However, the methods used to evaluate vegetation flammability have not yet been standardized. Cupressus sempervirens is a native or naturalized forest tree species in the Mediterranean area that is able to tolerate prolonged drought and high temperatures. The aim of this study was to characterize the flammability of C. sempervirens var. horizontalis at particle level by using different bench-scale calorimetry techniques (mass loss calorimeter, epiradiator and oxygen bomb) to determine the main flammability descriptors (ignitability, sustainability, combustibility and consumability) in live crown and litter samples. Our findings indicate that this variety of cypress is relatively resistant to ignition because of the high ash content, the high critical heat flux, the high time to ignition displayed by both crown and litter samples and the ability of the leaves to maintain a high water content during the summer. We also discuss the possibility of exploiting some morphological, functional and ecological traits of the species to construct a barrier system (with selected varieties of cypress) as a promising complementary land management tool to reduce the fire spread and intensity in a Mediterranean context.

Journal

Journal of Environmental ManagementElsevier

Published: Aug 15, 2015

References

  • Biogenic volatile organic compound emissions from vegetation fires
    Ciccioli, P.; Centritto, M.; Loreto, F.
  • Does pyrogenicity protect burning plants?
    Gagnon, P.R.; Passmore, H.A.; Platt, W.J.; Myers Paine, C.E.T.; Harms, K.E.
  • Flammability of some ornamental species in wildland–urban interfaces in Southeastern France: laboratory assessment at particle level
    Ganteaume, A.; Jappiot, M.; Lampin, C.; Guijarro, M.; Hernando, C.
  • TG and autoignition studies on forest fuels
    Liodakis, S.; Bakirtzis, D.; Lois, E.
  • The relationship between terpenes and flammability of leaf litter
    Ormeño, E.; Céspedes, B.; Sánchez, I.A.; Velasco-García, A.; Moreno, J.M.; Fernandez, C.; Baldy, V.

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