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Relationships between seasonal patterns of live fuel moisture and meteorological drought indices for Mediterranean shrubland species

, : Relationships between seasonal patterns of live fuel moisture and meteorological drought indices for Mediterranean shrubland species. International Journal of Wildland Fire 16(2): 232-241

Measurements of seasonal patterns of live fuel moisture content and ignitability (in terms of time to ignition) of four Mediterranean shrub species were performed in North Western Sardinia (Italy). Relationships between the two variables were evaluated. Relationships between live fuel moisture content and environmental conditions (i.e. rainfall, air temperature and soil moisture) were analysed. Two groups of species were identified in relation to the different response of live fuel moisture content to seasonal meteorological conditions. Seasonal patterns of live fuel moisture content were also compared with five meteorological drought indices: Duff Moisture Code and Drought Code of the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System, Keetch-Byram Drought Index, Canopy Drought Stress Index and Cumulative Water Balance Index. In addition, the capability of the meteorological drought indices to describe moisture variation for each species was evaluated. Although the Drought Code was formulated to describe changes in the moisture content of dead fuel, it was shown to have a good potential for modelling live fuel moisture variation of a group of shrubland species that are sensitive to meteorological conditions, with a clear and large decrease of moisture content during the drought season.


DOI: 10.1071/WF06081

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