Home Institution

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Publication Date

Fall 2006

Program Name

Brazil: Amazon Resource Management and Human Ecology


Fires affect millions of hectares of tropical forests around the world. These fires result in great environmental damage and economical losses. Many farmers are dependent on fire for managing their lands and many times their fires accidentally spread into forests via fuels on the forest floor. This study attempted to analyze and quantify the difference of potential fuel in a primary forest which burned one year before and an unburned part of the same forest at a primary forest fragment surrounded by farms and with a history of anthropogenic accidental fires burning it. This was done by making three sample plots in each forest to record the amount of woody materials that cross a linear transect which was made in the shape of an equilateral triangle and recording the depth of leaf litter on the forest floor every five meters. Also, because the fire noticeably left the burned forest in several differently looking states the three samples were of three differently looking forest type in the burned forest and were compared to understand the significance of the differentiation. The study found the burned forest on average had significantly more available woody material than the unburned forest and most of the additional material the burned forest had was found between 0.5 and 2 meters above the ground; although, the burned forest had an average leaf litter depth of less than 74 percent compared to the unburned primary forest. However, the study was unable to find a significant difference in the three samples in the three structurally different areas of the burned forest when it was found that there was more of a variation in between the three sample plots in the seemingly structurally similar primary forest.


Forest Management | Oil, Gas, and Energy



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