Fuel Loading and the Potential for Carbon Emissions from Fire Following Two Shelterwood Harvest Treatments in Southern Ohio
Yuhua Tao 1
Williams Roger Allen 2
1. Guangxi Eco-Engineering Vocational and Technical College, Liuzhou, 545004
2. School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH43210
Genomics and Applied Biology, 2010, Vol. 1, No. 1 doi: 10.5376/gab.2010.01.0001
Received: 15 Aug., 2010 Accepted: 09 Sep., 2010 Published: 27 Sep., 2010
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Tao and Allen, 2010, Fuel Loading and the potential for carbon emissions from fire following two shelterwood harvest treatments in Southern Ohio, Genomics and Applied Biology ,29(4): 628-638 (DOI: 10.3969/gab.029.000628)
The purpose of this paper is to report the fuel load following shelterwood harvest of two intensities (70% residual stocking and 50% residual stocking), the total carbon content contained in these fuels, and the potential carbon emissions from fire. And the fuel load includes forest litter, woody and herbaceous plants and dead wood. The research results show that the forest litter and the woody plants display significantly greater carbon content than herbaceous plants. The forest litter represents 36.6%, 50.9% and 66.0% of the total fuel load for the 50% treatment, 70% treatment and control respectively. Coarse woody debris accounts for 58.4%, 48.0%and 32.6% of the total fuel load for the 50% treatment, 70% treatment and control respectively. Small woody and herbaceous materials contribute very little to the fuel loading in all treatments. The total fuel loading was determined to be 54.07 t/ha, 41.98 t/ha and 20.73 t/ha for the 50% treatment, 70% treatment, and the control, respectively. If all these fuels were consumed in a wildfire, it is estimated that the total carbon compound emissions from a fire would be 90.39 t/ha, 70.19 t/ha, and 34.66 t/ha, in the same respective order. The harvesting treatments produced more 1~10 hours fuels than the control, although not significantly between them. The 50% treatment and 70% treatment produced 25.08 t/ha and 23.47 t/ha of 1~10 hours fuels, respectively, compared to 14.38 t/ha in the control. A prescribed fire would more likely consume only the fuels in this fuel category, thus emitting 41.93 t/ha, 39.24 t/ha and 23.55 t/ha of carbon compounds from the 50% treatment, 70% treatment, and the control, respectively. This study may be worthwhile to account for the reduction in carbon emissions obtained when prescribed burns are implemented as a fuel reduction strategy in forest carbon offset projects.
Carbon; Emissions; Harvesting; Fire; Forest fuel load