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Standing dead trees contribute significantly to carbon budgets in Australian savannas

Author(s): Garry D. Cook, Adam C. Liedloff, Carl P. Meyer, Anna E. Richards, Steven G. Bray
Year Published: 2020

Previous estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from Australian savanna fires have incorporated on-ground dead wood but ignored standing dead trees. However, research from eucalypt woodlands in southern Queensland has shown that the two pools of dead wood burn at similar rates. New field data from semiarid savannas across northern Australia confirmed that standing dead trees comprise about four times the mass of on-ground dead wood. Further, the proportion of total woody biomass comprising dead wood increases with decreasing fire frequency and a decreasing proportion of late dry season (August to December) fires. This gives scope for increasing the carbon stock in the dead wood pool with a reduced fire frequency. Following a previously published approach to quantify total dead wood loads in savannas, new and previously collected data on tree stand structures were used across the whole savanna zone to quantify dead wood loads in equilibrium with historic fire regimes. New parameters are presented for calculating dead wood dynamics including dead trees in Australia’s savannas.

Citation: Cook, Garry D.; Liedloff, Adam C.; Meyer, Carl P.; Richards, Anna E.; Bray, Steven G. 2020. Standing dead trees contribute significantly to carbon budgets in Australian savannas. International Journal of Wildland Fire 29(3):215-228. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF19092
Topic(s): Fuels, Fuel Descriptions, Smoke & Air Quality, Smoke Emissions, Smoke Emissions and Inventory
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 20945
FRAMES RCS number: 60904
Record updated: Apr 8, 2020