Exploring surface and canopy fuel characteristics at the particle, layer, and fuelbed levels across major forest ecosystem types of the US northern Rocky Mountains.
The research project FPARDY (Fuel PARticle DYnamics), is a multifaceted study to explore surface and canopy fuel characteristics at the particle, layer, and fuelbed levels across major forest ecosystem types in the US northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) so that these findings can be integrated into standard fuel applications. First, we selected stands that are representative of NRM forest vegetation types in composition and structure. We then measured many fuel properties in situ using a nested sampling design. We then collected fuels and brought them back to the lab to measure many other physical and chemical characteristics. Once we measured the physical and chemical characteristics of the particle, layer and fuelbed as a whole, we will then explore any relationships that can be detected by correlating management-oriented variables, such as loading, to a suite of other variables computed at the three scales in this study. We will also use using advanced statistical clustering and modeling to explore new ways of classifying and sampling fuels based on loadings. After we have thoroughly explored all possible relationships, we will start the development of new methods, protocols, technology, and applications for wildland fuel management. At a minimum, we will develop new sampling methods and new classifications for wildland fuels, and produce guidebooks on how to assign fuel characteristics to wildland fuelbeds. The FPARTY project has one primary objectives and a number of specific objectives: Explore the structure, composition, and properties of surface and canopy fuelbeds in NRM forests This objective can be achieved using the following steps described as sub-objectives:
- Measure fuelbed properties in situ at the particle, layer, and fuelbed scales for major forest types of the northern Rocky Mountains
- Collect all fuel particles from fuelbed for further laboratory analysis to determine a set of fuel particle properties that are important in fuel description, fire modeling, and fuel sampling
- Perform statistical analysis to explore relationships of measured particle properties to loading by fuel component
- Develop a set of deliverables that synthesizes the findings of the fuels exploration into management guides, protocols, and technology.
The audience for this effort is managers and researchers interested in describing and sampling fuels for fire behavior and effects prediction. This research may lead to new methods of simplifying fuels characteristics to aid fuel mapping efforts. Moreover, it should provide important parameters and values for fuel sampling efforts.