Canadian Forest Service Publications
Predicting the height to live crown base in plantations of four boreal forest species. 1994. McAlpine, R.S.; Hobbs, M.W. International Journal of Wildland Fire 4(2): 103-106.
Issued by: National Capital Region
Catalog ID: 10857
CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)
A critical parameter for the initiation and propagation of a crown fire in the boreal forest is the height to the base of the live crown. The initiation of a crown fire requires that the surface fire intensity must be sufficient to "jump" the gap between the forest floor and the live crown and ignite crown fuels. The greater the height of the live crown base, the more intense the surface fire must be to induce a crown fire. Plantation forest fuels tends to be more structured and have less variability than naturally regenerated areas, allowing predition of the height of the live crown base to be made from commonly available stand parameters. Plantations of four commonly planted boreal forest species were sampled over a variety of age classes to determine a predictive relationship for height to live crown base. Height to live crown base can be predicted from stand height and density for Pinus banksiana (jack pine), Pinus resinosa (red pine), Picea mariana (black spruce), and Picea glauca (white spruce). In addition to predicting the height to live crown base, parameters within the equations lead to other observations. Crown foliar fuel loading does not change with stand height following crown closure in red pine but in the other three species crown fuel load increases as the stand growns taller.