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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Richard W. Fonda; J. Morgan Varner III
Publication Date: 2004

This experiment studied burning characteristics of pine cones as a separate fuel component. Cones of fire resisters ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, longleaf pine, and south Florida slash pine, and cones of fire evaders Monterey pine, knobcone pine, sand pine, and pond pine were burned in a fire chamber. The experiment tested fire adaptive strategy (resisters vs. evaders), geographic region (western vs. eastern U.S.A.), and interactions between those two factors in a 2x2 factorial experiment. Jeffrey pine, longleaf pine, and south Florida slash pine supported the longest flames, smolder times, and burn times; they also lost >89% of cone mass. Monterey pine and knobcone pine sustained flames that lasted >10 min. Cones of Monterey pine, sand pine, and pond pine lost <50% cone mass. Resisters significantly exceeded evaders in all burning categories except flame time and mean rate of weight loss. Western pines significantly exceeded eastern pines in all burning categories except flame length and percent fuel combusted. Significant interactions between fire adaptive strategy and geographic region existed for all burning characteristics except mean rate of weight loss. The interaction was accounted for by cones of eastern evaders, which had the lowest mean values for most characteristics. Only recently have cones been regarded as a separate fuel component, yet they contribute more to fire regimes in their communities than previously thought. Fire models might be more accurate if they incorporate the contributions of cones to fire regimes. Furthermore, smoke emitted by smoldering cones is an important smoke management concern.

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Link to this document (7.3 MB; pdf)
Citation: Fonda, Richard W., Varner, J. Morgan. 2004. Burning characteristics of cones from eight pine species. Northwest Science 78(4):322-333.

Cataloging Information

Alaska    California    Eastern    Great Basin    Hawaii    Northern Rockies    Northwest    Rocky Mountain    Southern    Southwest    National
  • Aristida stricta
  • biogeography
  • coastal plain
  • cones
  • coniferous forests
  • crown fires
  • evolution
  • fire adaptations
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fire resistant plants
  • flame length
  • flammability
  • forest management
  • germination
  • ground fires
  • longleaf pine
  • needles
  • pine
  • pine forests
  • Pinus elliottii densa
  • Pinus jeffreyi
  • Pinus palustris
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • Pinus radiata
  • Pinus serotina
  • ponderosa pine
  • seed germination
  • SFP - Southern Fire Portal
  • slash
  • slash pine
  • smoke management
  • statistical analysis
  • surface fuels
Tall Timbers Record Number: 18572Location Status: In-fileCall Number: Fire FileAbstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission
JFSP Project Number(s):
  • 01-1-3-11
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 183

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by Tall Timbers and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of Tall Timbers.