Thursday, 20 November 2003: 11:00 AM
Comparing scale and assessment methodologies in fuels management
Issues of scale in fire ecology and fuels management have primarily been addressed at the landscape level. Although standard methods in fire effects field assessment occasionally include different scales as an implicit part of the methodology (e.g.: modified Whittaker plot), information is limited as to how plot size and placement can affect the results. We sampled fuel loads and fuel models in prairie and shrubland areas of the Lewisville Wildlife Management Area, near Dallas, Texas, to understand how changes in scale of assessment can modify sampling results. We sampled 252 points across a 78 acre fire effects study area. Half of the points were placed on a 50 m x 50 m fixed-point grid across the entire study area, and half were placed randomly across the same area. At each point, we (a) qualitatively assessed fuel loading within 1 meter of the point, based upon previous quantitative data gathered from the area, and (b) determined the appropriate Anderson fuel model within 1 meter of the point and within 25 meters of the point. In this presentation, we describe the results of this comparative study using both GIS and statistical analyses. We will use this description to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each method, and present the implications for management of fire dependent ecosystems in the Southern Plains.