Home
A JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network
Bringing People Together & Sharing Knowledge in the Northern Rockies

Relationships among leaf flammability attributes and identifying low-leaf-flammability species at the wildland-urban interface

Author(s): Daniel W. Krix, Megan L. Phillips, Brad R. Murray
Year Published: 2019
Description:

Leaf flammability is a multidimensional plant functional trait with emerging importance for wildfire risk management. Understanding relationships among leaf flammability attributes not only provides information about the properties of leaves as fuels in the wildland–urban interface (WUI), it can also offer an effective way to identify low-leaf-flammability species. We examined relationships between leaf ignitibility, sustainability and combustibility among 60 plant species of the WUI of eastern Australia. We found that leaf ignitibility and sustainability worked in opposition to each other as dimensions of flammability. Species with leaves that were slow to ignite were those with leaves that sustained burning for the longest, whereas species with leaves that were fast to ignite had leaves that burned for the shortest periods of time. Low leaf combustibility was related to short leaf burning sustainability but not to ignitibility. We created an overall leaf flammability index (OLFI) to rank species on emergent properties of ignitibility, sustainability and combustibility attributes in combination. We found that low-leaf-flammability species with low OLFI values had small leaf area, high leaf mass per area and high leaf water content. Our findings have implications for species selection for green firebreaks in the WUI.

Citation: Krix DW, Phillips ML, Murray BR. 2019. Relationships among leaf flammability attributes and identifying low-leaf-flammability species at the wildland-urban interface. International Journal of Wildland Fire 28(4): 295-307. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF18167
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Vegetation, Wildland Urban Interface
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 19442
FRAMES RCS number: 57757
Record updated: May 9, 2019