Influence of water and terpenes on flammability in some dominant Mediterranean species

G. A. Alessio, J. Peñuelas, J. Llusià, R. Ogaya, M. Estiarte, M. De Lillis

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    62 Citations (Scopus)


    In the Mediterranean basin, fires are a major concern for forest and shrubland ecosystems. We studied flammability, its seasonality and its relationship with leaf moisture and volatile terpene content and emission in the dominant species of a Mediterranean shrubland and forest in Catalonia (NE Iberian Peninsula). We measured temperatures and time elapsed between the three flammability phases: smoke, pyrolysis and flame, for four seasons. We sampled twice in spring because of an occasional drought period during this season. Flammability had a significant relationship with leaf hydration, in the shrubland and in the forest. Few and only weak correlations were found between terpene content and flammability. In the future, arid conditions projected by climatic and ecophysiological models will increase fire risk through decreased hydration and subsequent increased flammability of the species. © IAWF 2008.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)274-286
    JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2008


    • Arbutus unedo
    • Cistus albidus
    • Emission and content of volatile compounds
    • Erica multiflora
    • Globularia alypum
    • Phillyrea latifolia
    • Pinus halepensis
    • Pistacia lentiscus
    • Quercus ilex
    • Rosmarinus officinalis


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