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Flammability of Cerrado

Grant number: 17/09914-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2017
Effective date (End): October 28, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Alessandra Tomaselli Fidelis
Grantee:Vagner Augusto Zanzarini
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/06743-0 - How does fire season affect Cerrado vegetation?, AP.JP
Associated scholarship(s):18/08101-4 - Flammability analysis in the cerrado, BE.EP.MS

Abstract

An important emerging property in fire-prone ecosystems is vegetation and plant flammability. During the evolution of flammability, traits that increased fire frequency and intensity were selected. Flammability can be measured by a set of traits, such as: leaf size, dead biomass retention, plant architecture, presence of secondary compounds (e.g. terpenoids), etc. As a consequence, flammability may change depending on season, mainly due to the amount of dead biomass attached to the individual and to variations in the plant chemical compounds. Therefore, understanding how vegetation flammability varies will help us to understand how vegetation is affected by fire at different times of the year.Therefore, the main aim of this project is to evaluate how season affects the flammability of Cerrado vegetation. It is expected that during the dry season, vegetation will show a greater proportion of flammability-related traits (for example, greater accumulation of dead biomass), which will also influence the higher fire intensity at this time of the year.Therefore, vegetation flammability will depend on the type and quality of the fuel load, as well as on the architecture and structure of the plant. Therefore, to determine the flammability at different seasons, the following traits will be measured before each prescribed burning: moisture content of branches and leaves, canopy architecture, surface / volume ratio (measured by leaf size), dead biomass, nutrient concentration and leaf area. Traits sampling will be according to well established protocols and the nutrient concentration will be determined by functional groups: graminoids, forbs, shrubs and dead biomass and will be sent to the laboratory for analysis. Traits sampling will be carried out before each prescribed burn and during the following rainy season (December-January).