Relevance of terpenoids on flammability of Mediterranean species: an experimental approach at a low radiant heat flux

G Della Rocca, J Madrigal, E Marchi, M Michelozzi, B Moya, R Danti
2017 iForest : Biogeosciences and Forestry  
One of the major factors influencing forest fuel combustion are terpenoids, a fraction of flammable Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds (BVOCs) produced and stored by most Mediterranean species. The qualitative and quantitative effect of terpenoids on flammability has been only partially explained. In this study several major terpenoid-storing Mediterranean species (common cypress and three pines) were considered and compared to Holm oak as a reference non-storing species. The terpenoids were
more » ... e terpenoids were quantified via gas chromatography (GC-MS) analysis from both live fine fuel (LFF) and litter samples, and the relations between flammability and the terpenoids content were investigated by categories (Monoterpenoids, oxygenated Monoterpenoids, Sesquiterpenoids). The effect of fuel moisture content and species on ignition probability of LFF was also explored. A very different ignition probability was observed at the same fuel moisture content for the different species (Pinus spp. > C. sempervirens > Q. ilex). The stored terpenoids explained 19% to 50% of the whole flammability of both LFF and litter. Fuel moisture content (FMC) did not substantially change the relative effect of terpenoids on flammability, except in C. sempervirens. Monoterpenoids do not seem to significantly affect flammability, while sesquiterpenoids greatly influenced most flammability components, though their relative effect varied among species. A relation between storing structure of terpenoids and flammability was suggested. The results of this study indicate that isoprenoids should be included in physical models of the prediction and propagation of wildfire in Mediterranean vegetation as significant factors in driving flammability.
doi:10.3832/ifor2327-010 fatcat:jz5rtw5g75cgrn6oj7yhpgfwhi