The effect of mastication on surface fire behaviour, fuels consumption and tree mortality in pine flatwoods of Florida, USA

Jesse K. Kreye, Leda N. Kobziar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mastication of understorey shrubs and small trees to reduce fire hazard has become a widespread forest management practice, but few empirical studies have quantified the effects of this mechanical treatment on actual fire behaviour and fire effects at the stand scale. We conducted experimental burns in masticated pine flatwoods with palmetto/gallberry understories, a common ecosystem of the Southern US Coastal Plain. Fire behaviour (flame height, rate of spread) and fire effects were compared between treated and untreated sites burned in the typical winter prescribed burning season. Mastication effectively reduced flame heights by 66%, but recovering shrubs (cover, height) influenced fire behaviour within six months following treatment, suggesting time-limited effectiveness. Trees had less crown scorch and bole char in masticated sites, but tree mortality was minimal on both treated and untreated sites. Consumption of masticated fuel was substantial across both treatments, but little duff was consumed under the moist soil conditions. When burning is conducted soon after treatment, mastication may effectively reduce fire behaviour in pine flatwoods sites, but the duration of treatment efficacy remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-579
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

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fire behavior
energy use and consumption
tree mortality
fuel consumption
mastication
Pinus
mortality
understory
shrub
burning season
shrubs
scorch
fire hazard
prescribed burning
coastal plains
coastal plain
tree crown
forest management
tree trunk
soil quality

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Ecology

Cite this

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abstract = "Mastication of understorey shrubs and small trees to reduce fire hazard has become a widespread forest management practice, but few empirical studies have quantified the effects of this mechanical treatment on actual fire behaviour and fire effects at the stand scale. We conducted experimental burns in masticated pine flatwoods with palmetto/gallberry understories, a common ecosystem of the Southern US Coastal Plain. Fire behaviour (flame height, rate of spread) and fire effects were compared between treated and untreated sites burned in the typical winter prescribed burning season. Mastication effectively reduced flame heights by 66{\%}, but recovering shrubs (cover, height) influenced fire behaviour within six months following treatment, suggesting time-limited effectiveness. Trees had less crown scorch and bole char in masticated sites, but tree mortality was minimal on both treated and untreated sites. Consumption of masticated fuel was substantial across both treatments, but little duff was consumed under the moist soil conditions. When burning is conducted soon after treatment, mastication may effectively reduce fire behaviour in pine flatwoods sites, but the duration of treatment efficacy remains unclear.",
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The effect of mastication on surface fire behaviour, fuels consumption and tree mortality in pine flatwoods of Florida, USA. / Kreye, Jesse K.; Kobziar, Leda N.

In: International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 24, No. 4, 01.01.2015, p. 573-579.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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