Masters Thesis

Analysis of field data and spatial methods for the parametrization of a spatial duff consumption model

Field data collected from the consumption of organic forest soil (duff) by smoldering combustion are analyzed to determine the spatial patterns as input for a smoldering combustion model. Moisture, organic, and inorganic contents were measured at longleaf pines to detect patterns that could be used to explain the spatial patterns in post-burn consumption. The model takes these environmental predictors as input values and then outputs spatial consumption patterns. Methods are also developed to describe the two-dimensional spatial patterns of consumption created by the smoldering combustion. The spatial patterns revealed that smoldering combustion occurs most often at the base of a tree stem at the reintroduction of wildland fire in long-unburned forest. The data from the organic soil pa- rameters were unable to completely predict this behavior, indicating that other factors might be involved. Duff depth was noted as being significantly higher at the areas of smoldering initiation indicating that understanding the soil characteristics of these deep duff mounds at the tree base will help predict smoldering patterns, and therefore deserve further research.

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