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Fuel properties and fire behaviour characteristics of prescribed fire in pine-dominated forests at Nam Nao National Park, Thailand

Wanthongchai, K., Tarusadamrongdet, V., Chinnawong, K., Sooksawat, K.
International journal of wildland fire 2013 v.22 no.5 pp. 615-624
coniferous forests, ecosystems, fire behavior, forest fires, fuel loading, fuels, fuels (fire ecology), national parks, plant litter, prescribed burning, soil temperature, stand characteristics, surface temperature, sward, Thailand
Anthropogenic burning has become a common phenomenon throughout Thailand’s pine-dominated ecosystems. This study investigated fuel loads and experimental fire behaviour characteristics in a degraded pine forest (PF) and a pine–oak forest (O-PF), at Nam Nao National Park, Thailand in three replicate 50×50-m plots of each forest type. Pre-burn fuel loads, fire behaviour descriptors, fire and soil temperature, the residues left after burning and post-burn fuel recovery for 1 year were investigated. The aboveground fuel load in PF (1.29kgm-2) was significantly higher than in O-PF (0.87kgm-2). The main fuel components in the PF stand were grass (45%) and litter (44%), whereas leaf litter was the predominant fuel in the O-PF stand (55%). The fire behaviour characteristics in the PF stand were significantly greater than those in the O-PF stand. Burning at the O-PF and the PF was respectively classified as low (48kWm-1) and medium intensity (627kWm-1). During the burning experiment, the surface soil temperatures at all sites were higher than 250°C. However, fire did not cause temperature changes in the deeper soil layers. In the pine forest the post-burn fuel loads 1 year after the fire remained lower than the pre-burn level. These results may imply that a pine forest at Nam Nao National Park requires more than 1 year of fire-free period to recover back to the pre-burn conditions.