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Forest Fuel Bed Variation in Tropical Coastal Freshwater Forested Wetlands Disturbed by Fire

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Barrios-Calder�n, RD; Mata, DI; Garnica, JGF; Torres, JR

NA

2024

FORESTS

15

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Tropical coastal freshwater forested wetlands in coastal regions are rapidly disappearing as a result of various disturbance agents, mainly wildfires caused by high accumulations of forest fuels. The objective of this study was to characterize the structure and composition of fuel beds in tropical coastal freshwater forested wetlands with three levels of disturbance at El Casta & ntilde;o, La Encrucijada Biosphere Reserve. Seventeen sampling units were used to describe the structure of the forest's fuel beds (canopy, sub-canopy, and understory). Fallen woody material and litter (surface and fermented) were characterized using the planar intersection technique. Diversity comprised eight species of trees, two shrubs, five lianas, and two herbaceous species. The vertical strata were dominated by trees between 2 and 22 m in height. The horizontal structure had a higher percentage of trees with normal diameter between 2.5 and 7.5 cm (61.4%) of the total. Sites with low disturbance had the highest arboreal density (2686 ind. ha(-1)). Diversity of species showed that the Fisher, Margalef, Shannon, and Simpson alpha indices were higher in the low disturbance sites. The Berger-Parker index exhibited greater dominance in the sites with high disturbance. Pachira aquatica Aubl. Showed the highest importance value index and was the largest contributor to fuel beds. Sites with the highest disturbance had the highest dead fuel load (222.18 +/- 33.62 Mg ha(-1)), with woody fuels of classes 1, 10, and 1000 h (rotten) being the most representative. This study contributes to defining areas prone to fire in these ecosystems and designing prevention strategies.

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