Decomposition Rates for Hand-Piled Fuels

TitleDecomposition Rates for Hand-Piled Fuels
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsWright, CS
Series EditorEvans, AM
Tertiary AuthorsRestaino, JC
Series TitleResearch Note
Document Number574
Date Published02.17
InstitutionUS Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station
Keywordsdecay-rate constant, fuels management, hand piles, techincal reports and journal articles

Hand-constructed piles in eastern Washington and north-central New Mexico were weighed periodically between October 2011 and June 2015 to develop decay-rate constants that are useful for estimating the rate of piled biomass loss over time. Decay-rate constants (k) were determined by fitting negative exponential curves to time series of pile weight for each site. Piles at the Washington site (k = 0.027/year) decomposed significantly more slowly than piles at the New Mexico site (k = 0.064/year). Significant differences in k for each site may be a function of a between-site variation in pile composition (with or without large woody material), the environmental dissimilarities between sites (Mediterranean climate regime in Washington vs. monsoonal climate regime in New Mexico), or a combination of factors.