Journal cover Journal topic
Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Biogeosciences, 11, 7305-7329, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
19 Dec 2014
Biomass burning fuel consumption rates: a field measurement database
T. T. van Leeuwen1,3, G. R. van der Werf1, A. A. Hoffmann2, R. G. Detmers1,3, G. Rücker4, N. H. F. French5, S. Archibald6,7, J. A. Carvalho Jr.8, G. D. Cook9, W. J. de Groot10, C. Hély11, E. S. Kasischke12, S. Kloster13, J. L. McCarty5, M. L. Pettinari14, P. Savadogo15, E. C. Alvarado16, L. Boschetti17, S. Manuri18, C. P. Meyer19, F. Siegert20, L. A. Trollope21, and W. S. W. Trollope21 1Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2Independent Expert for Integrated Fire and Natural Resource Management, Sinsheim, Germany
3SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht, the Netherlands
4ZEBRIS GbR, Munich, Germany
5Michigan Tech Research Institute, Michigan Technological University, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
6Natural Resources and the Environment, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
7School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2050, South Africa
8Faculty of Engineering, São Paulo State University, Campus of Guaratinguetá, Guaratinguetá, Brazil
9CSIRO Land and Water, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
10Natural Resources Canada-Canadian Forest Service, Sault Ste. Marie, Canada
11Centre de Bio-Archéologie et d'Écologie (CBAE UMR 5059 CNRS/Université Montpellier 2/EPHE), Paléoenvironnements et Chronoécologie, Institut de Botanique, 163 rue Auguste Broussonnet, 34090 Montpellier, France
12Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA
13Land in the Earth System, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
14Environmental Remote Sensing Research Group, Department of Geology, Geography and Environment, Universidad de Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Spain
15World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) c/o International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), West & Central Africa Region BP 12404, Niamey, Niger
16School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA
17College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 83844, USA
18Fenner School of Environment and Society, the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
19CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Aspendale, Victoria, Australia
20Biology Department II, GeoBio Center, Ludwig Maximilian University, Großhadener Str. 2, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany
21Research & Development, Working On Fire International, Nelspruit, South Africa
Abstract. Landscape fires show large variability in the amount of biomass or fuel consumed per unit area burned. Fuel consumption (FC) depends on the biomass available to burn and the fraction of the biomass that is actually combusted, and can be combined with estimates of area burned to assess emissions. While burned area can be detected from space and estimates are becoming more reliable due to improved algorithms and sensors, FC is usually modeled or taken selectively from the literature. We compiled the peer-reviewed literature on FC for various biomes and fuel categories to understand FC and its variability better, and to provide a database that can be used to constrain biogeochemical models with fire modules. We compiled in total 77 studies covering 11 biomes including savanna (15 studies, average FC of 4.6 t DM (dry matter) ha−1 with a standard deviation of 2.2), tropical forest (n = 19, FC = 126 ± 77), temperate forest (n = 12, FC = 58 ± 72), boreal forest (n = 16, FC = 35 ± 24), pasture (n = 4, FC = 28 ± 9.3), shifting cultivation (n = 2, FC = 23, with a range of 4.0–43), crop residue (n = 4, FC = 6.5 ± 9.0), chaparral (n = 3, FC = 27 ± 19), tropical peatland (n = 4, FC = 314 ± 196), boreal peatland (n = 2, FC = 42 [42–43]), and tundra (n = 1, FC = 40). Within biomes the regional variability in the number of measurements was sometimes large, with e.g. only three measurement locations in boreal Russia and 35 sites in North America. Substantial regional differences in FC were found within the defined biomes: for example, FC of temperate pine forests in the USA was 37% lower than Australian forests dominated by eucalypt trees. Besides showing the differences between biomes, FC estimates were also grouped into different fuel classes. Our results highlight the large variability in FC, not only between biomes but also within biomes and fuel classes. This implies that substantial uncertainties are associated with using biome-averaged values to represent FC for whole biomes. Comparing the compiled FC values with co-located Global Fire Emissions Database version 3 (GFED3) FC indicates that modeling studies that aim to represent variability in FC also within biomes, still require improvements as they have difficulty in representing the dynamics governing FC.

Citation: van Leeuwen, T. T., van der Werf, G. R., Hoffmann, A. A., Detmers, R. G., Rücker, G., French, N. H. F., Archibald, S., Carvalho Jr., J. A., Cook, G. D., de Groot, W. J., Hély, C., Kasischke, E. S., Kloster, S., McCarty, J. L., Pettinari, M. L., Savadogo, P., Alvarado, E. C., Boschetti, L., Manuri, S., Meyer, C. P., Siegert, F., Trollope, L. A., and Trollope, W. S. W.: Biomass burning fuel consumption rates: a field measurement database, Biogeosciences, 11, 7305-7329, doi:10.5194/bg-11-7305-2014, 2014.
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