A new fuel load model for eucalypt forests in Southeast Queensland
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The behaviour of a fire, whether it is a wildfire or a prescribed burn, will largely be affected by the quantity of fine fuels present within the system. It is vital to keep track of the development of fuel in order to manage the risk and provide useful indicators for planned hazard reduction programs as well as assisting in determining ecological thresholds. Two widespread regional vegetation ecosystems (Eucalyptus racemosa open woodland and Corymbia citriodora/Eucalyptus major open forest) were studied within Redland Shire of coastal southeast Queensland. At 21 sites, surface fine fuel load were collected and measured against time since fire, rainfall (one-year post-fire), foliage projective cover and fuel depth. It was found that there was a linear relationship between time since fire, foliage projective cover, fuel depth and total fuel quantity. This was found to be a reliable model, explaining 68% of the variation in the data. For land managers, we have provided a useful model (Fuel Load = [0.286]Fuel Depth + [0.321]Time Since Fire + [0.100]Foliage Projective Cover) that can be used to quickly (as no transformation is required) and accurately determine surface fine fuel. However, we acknowledge that a linear relationship cannot be maintained between fuel quantity and the measured variable and further study is warranted to determine the thresholds of this model. Further work on fuels and fire management in southeast Queensland is also recommended.
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland
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