Modeling canopy foliar traits and disturbance interactions in central Texas woodlands.
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Thomas, Jonathan Armstrong, 1981-
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The present study examines canopy foliar traits and their interactions with the greater ecosystem at multiple scales. Leaf mass/area ratios, nitrogen, and phosphorus were measured and were shown to correlate with relative light levels in some species. Leaf nutrition is used as the basis for a leaf development model. Leaf mass and leaf area index data are utilized to calculate canopy fuels. Species presence/absence at sites is shown to result in significantly different crown fuel loadings. A multiple linear regression approach was adopted to create mapping that takes into account crown bulk density (CBD) spatial heterogeneity. This mapping was used for a series of crown fire simulation comparisons. Fire simulation data show significantly greater frequency of active crown fire occurrence with modeled CBD mapping. Active crown fire initiation is shown to be a function of fuel contiguity levels not achieved by average CBD mapping.