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The fuel moisture index based on understorey Hygrochron iButton humidity and temperature measurements reliably predicts fine fuel moisture content in Tasmanian Eucalyptus forests
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-21, 13:11 authored by David BowmanDavid Bowman, James Furlaud, Meagan PorterMeagan Porter, Grant WilliamsonGrant Williamson
Fine fuel moisture content (FFMC) is a key determinant of wildfire occurrence, behaviour, and pyrogeographic patterns. Accurate determination of FFMC is laborious, hence managers and ecologists have devised a range of empirical and mechanistic measures for FFMC. These FFMC measures, however, have received limited field validation against field-based gravimetric fuel moisture measurements. Using statistical modelling, we evaluate the use of the relationship between gravimetric FFMC and the Fuel Moisture Index (FMI), based on Hygrochron iButton humidity and temperature dataloggers. We do this in Tasmanian wet and dry Eucalyptus forests subjected to strongly contrasting disturbance histories and, hence, percentage of canopy cover. We show that 24 h average FMI based on data from Hygrochron iButtons 0.75 m above the forest floor provides reliable estimates of gravimetric litter fuel moisture (c. 1 h fuels) that are strongly correlated with near surface gravimetric fuel moisture sticks (c. 10 h fuels). We conclude FMI based on Hygrochron iButton data provides ecologists with an economic and effective method to retrospectively measure landscape patterns in fuel moisture in Tasmanian forests.
Hobart City Council
Department/SchoolSchool of Social Sciences
Place of publicationSwitzerland
Rights statement© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).