Journal article

Darker, cooler, wetter: forest understories influence surface fuel moisture

BJ Pickering, TJ Duff, C Baillie, JG Cawson

Agricultural and Forest Meteorology | Elsevier Masson | Published : 2021


The moisture content of dead leaves, twigs and bark on the forest floor is a key determinant of fire behaviour. The microclimate inside forests, which drive the moisture content of these dead fuel components, is typically measured at screen height (150 cm). However, in some forest types, the surface fuel at ground level may be subject to additional sheltering from low shrubs, ferns and grasses, which could alter the microclimate near the surface (hereafter near-surface). In such cases, screen height measurements may not adequately represent the near-surface conditions that determine dead fuel moisture contents. We sought to quantify the effect of understorey vegetation on near-surface microc..

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University of Melbourne Researchers