The relationships between the forest fuels and vegetation of Richmond National Battlefield Park, Virginia
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In general, the fuel loading was not different between the six cover types as determined with ANOVA procedures. due to the large variation of loads within each. The loading of certain sizes of fuel particles were different between a few cover types, due to both the influence of the overstory species and the site they had occupied. For example, the 1-hr. time-lag branch fuel loading was significantly greater in the oak cover type than in the pine or mixed hardwood cover types. Another significant difference was in the forest floor loads: the mixed hardwood cover type had a lighter forest floor than the pine or oak-pine cover types. This was most likely due to the higher quality of sites upon which the mixed hardwood stand were found, and the higher palatability of litter produced by these species, which would favor the decomposition of litter more than conditions found in the pine or oak-pine cover types.
To quantify relationships between the fuel loads and forest vegetation and site characteristics, Spearman's rank correlation coefficients were calculated between all the variables. Many significant relationships were found, though all but one correlation coefficient was under 0.51: total forest floor load and forest floor depth had a correlation coefficient of 0.75. Forest and site variables significantly related to fuel loadings were tested for their predictive value with multiple regression statistics. The resulting set of regressions had low coefficients of determination and varying levels of precision; their usefulness would depend on the level of sampling intensity and precision one would want to expend to get an estimate of fuel loading in a stand. If a rough estimate requiring little time in the field is desirable, then these regressions would be useful.
- Masters Theses