A comparison of rangeland monitoring techniques for modeling herbaceous fuels and forage in central Arizona, USA

Edward C. Rhodes, Doug R. Tolleson, Jay P. Angerer, John A. Kava, Judith Dyess, Tessa Nicolet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

While fire and rangeland managers frequently have different land management roles and objectives, their data needs with regards to herbaceous biomass (fuel loads and forage) often overlap, and can be served with a single sampling protocol for both rangeland and fuels management. In this study, we examined how two herbaceous sampling methods compare in measuring species richness, ground cover, and standing herbaceous biomass for range and forestry management using the Phytomass Growth Simulator (Phygrow). Phygrow is an herbaceous vegetation growth model used to simulate rangeland plant production for herbivory, drought, and wildfire severity early warning systems. The Point-frequency protocol has been used for 10 years to collect plant community parameters for Phygrow. The Common Non-Forested Vegetation Sampling Protocol (CNVSP) is a commonly used rangeland assessment protocol in the southwestern United States. Data from both methods were used to parameterize the Phygrow model to examine their similarities and differences, and to see if data collected from the CNVSP methodology could be used to model herbaceous fuel loads. We determined that the data collected in the CNVSP protocol met the needs for Phygrow model validation of standing herbaceous fuels, but data was insufficient for modeling surface dead fuel loads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-91
Number of pages16
JournalFire Ecology
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Fine fuels
  • Frequency
  • Fuel load
  • Grass
  • Modeling
  • Non-forested areas
  • Phygrow
  • Rangeland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

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