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Project ID: 11-1-5-16

Year: 2011

Date Started: 09/01/2011

Date Completed: 09/03/2015

Title: Influence of Fuel Moisture and Density on Black Carbon Formation During Combustion of Boreal Peat Fuels

Project Proposal Abstract: The goals of the proposed research are to develop fire management and modeling tools to predict particulate carbon production and black carbon (BC) conversion rates during combustion of organic peat soils common to boreal forested and non-forested ecosystems of the Great Lakes region, Alaska, and Canada. We will test the control of fuel moisture on the generation of BC and particulates using controlled combustion trials of peat soils from Michigans Seney National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR) with experimental gradients of fuel moisture. Combustion trials will be conducted at the USFS Fire Lab in Missoula, MT, with concurrent quantification of particulates and hydrocarbons via the smoke plume as well as BC and char surface deposition. This study will capitalize on planned prescribed burns in the peat soils of SNWR, which afford the unique opportunity to monitor fuel moisture and peat physical properties prior to and immediately following burning, as well as to spatially quantify BC and char conversion rates during wetland prescribed burning. By integrating the observations from the prescribed burn and the results of the experimental combustion trials, we will gain insight as to how emission factors and BC conversion rates are influenced by fuel and combustion characteristics. Moreover, detailed spectroradiometry data will be collected prior to and following the prescribed burning to assess the use of spectral remote sensing products for projecting BC generation potential. The data collected during this study will build on previous and on-going studies of the drivers of boreal ground fuel combustion. The results of this research will provide tools for fuel and fire behavior models on the generation of BC, as well as smoke emission and BC transport models involving the warming potential and human health implications of particulate matter in smoke. Specific deliverables will include: 1) empirical models of the influence of fuel moisture on BC conversion rates and particulate emissions during combustion of peat fuels, 2) quantification of particulate emissions and spatial patterns of BC generation and deposition during wetland prescribed burning, and 3) primary data on the spectroradiometric characteristics of charred post-fire peatland surfaces as well as dominant peat fuels varying in moisture content before and after burning. Other products include peer reviewed publications and a graduate thesis, presentations at scientific meetings, and workshops for resource managers, policymakers, and fire modeling researchers. Work will be advertised to other scientists and the public through communication with the recently formed JFSP-funded Lake States Fire Consortium and the SNWR Visitor Center.

Principal Investigator: Brian W. Benscoter

Agency/Organization: Florida Atlantic University

Branch or Dept: Department of Biological Sciences

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

JoAnn G. Moretti

Florida Atlantic University

Department of Biological Sciences

Budget Contact

JoAnn G. Moretti

Florida Atlantic University

Department of Biological Sciences

Co-Principal Investigator

Robert G. Corace III

FWS-Fish and Wildlife Service

Seney NWR

Co-Principal Investigator

Evan S Kane

Michigan Technological University

School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science


Michael J. Falkowski

Michigan Technological University

School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science

Federal Cooperator

Robert E. Keane

Forest Service

RMRS-Fire, Fuel & Smoke Science Program

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Lake States






Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
    3613 Journal Article Remote Sensing of Environment
    335 MS Thesis Detecting changes in surface moisture and water table position with spectral changes in surface vege

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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