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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 23(8)

Flammability of litter sampled according to two different methods: comparison of results in laboratory experiments

Anne Ganteaume A B , Marielle Jappiot A , Thomas Curt A , Corinne Lampin A and Laurent Borgniet A

A Irstea, UR EMAX, CS 40061, F-13182 Aix-en-Provence, France.
B Corresponding author. Email address: anne.ganteaume@irstea.fr

International Journal of Wildland Fire 23(8) 1061-1075 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF13045
Submitted: 20 June 2012  Accepted: 24 February 2014   Published: 1 December 2014


 
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Abstract

In the laboratory, different types of litter samples (constructed v. intact) can be used in flammability experiments but the sampling method of these litters could affect litter flammability results. To assess this effect, samples of litters were collected in South-eastern France, according to two different methods previously used in other studies, one keeping intact the structure of the litter layers (non-constructed litter) and the other requiring the construction of the litter, using mainly the surface litter layer (constructed litter). The comparison of flammability results showed that the sampling method had a significant effect on litter bulk-density, rate of spread and rate of consumption, intact litter being more flammable than reconstructed litter that was artificially compacted. The type of vegetation had a significant effect on litter depth, ignitability, sustainability, consumability and combustibility (except on rate of spread) and the litter composition could explain in part this fire behaviour. The effect of the construction of litters on flammability parameters and its magnitude also differed according to vegetation types. Intact litter structure appeared to be an important driver of its flammability, especially of combustibility and consumability. The assessment of these flammability components will differ when using constructed litter samples instead of intact litter samples, especially according to vegetation types. Future research on litter flammability should take into account the bias due to the litter sampling method when the litter is constructed.

Additional keywords: litter composition, non-reconstructed litter, reconstructed litter.


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