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Individual Highlight

Scientists Characterize Woody Debris to Assess Fuel Loads in Northeastern Puerto Rico

Photo of Forest floor litter and duff measurements for eight forest types along elevation gradient in northeastern Puerto Rico. Asterisks indicate significant difference between litter and duff biomass within forest type. Grizelle Gonz�lez, USDA Forest ServiceForest floor litter and duff measurements for eight forest types along elevation gradient in northeastern Puerto Rico. Asterisks indicate significant difference between litter and duff biomass within forest type. Grizelle Gonz�lez, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Forest Service scientists characterized the amounts of woody debris (coarse woody debris, fine woody debris, duff, and litter) for eight different forest types along the elevation gradient in Northeastern Puerto Rico. Data generated by this survey contributes to development and improvement of existing woody debris management plans, addressing increased fire risk in Northeastern Puerto Rico.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Gonzalez, Grizelle 
Research Location : Northeastern Puerto Rico, and the Luquillo Experiment Fores
Research Station : International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF)
Year : 2013
Highlight ID : 457

Summary

Forest Service scientists characterized the amounts of woody debris (coarse woody debris, fine woody debris, duff, and litter) for eight different forest types along the elevation gradient in Northeastern Puerto Rico. Data generated by this survey contributes to development and improvement of existing woody debris management plans, addressing increased fire risk in Northeastern Puerto Rico. Factors such as growing population and shifting climate in Puerto Rico have resulted in both increased amounts of urban-wildland interface as well as greater potential for harmful forest fires. Fire frequency is increasing and fires are occurring in humid forests - like these forest types within the Luquillo Mountains - for the first time. Fuel loads, or the distribution of woody debris and other carbon sources in forests, is the only key element of the fire behavior triangle that can be effectively managed. This detailed survey of fuel loads within these forest types aids in the development of more effective management practices.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Morgan Luce, The University of Montana