Differences between a deciduous and a conifer tree species in gaseous and particulate emissions from biomass burning
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Emanuele Pallozzi; Ilaria Lusini; Lucia Cherubini; Ramilla A. Hajiaghayeva; Paolo Ciccioli; Carlo Calfapietra
Publication Year: 2018

Cataloging Information

  • biomass burning
  • coniferous
  • deciduous trees
  • Italy
  • laboratory fires
  • Mediterranean ecosystem
  • particulate emissions
  • Pinus halepensis
  • Quercus pubescens
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: January 5, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 25540


In the Mediterranean ecosystem, wildfires are very frequent and the predicted future with a probable increase of fires could drastically modify the vegetation scenarios. Vegetation fires are an important source of gases and primary emissions of fine carbonaceous particles in the atmosphere. In this paper, we present gaseous and particulate emissions data from the combustion of different plant tissues (needles/leaves, branches and needle/leaf litter), obtained from one conifer (Pinus halepensis) and one deciduous broadleaf tree (Quercus pubescens). Both species are commonly found throughout the Mediterranean area, often subject to wildfires. Experiments were carried out in a combustion chamber continuously sampling emissions throughout the different phases of a fire (pre-ignition, flaming and smoldering). We identified and quantified 83 volatile organic compounds including important carcinogens that can affect human health. CO and CO2 were the main gaseous species emitted, benzene and toluene were the dominant aromatic hydrocarbons, methyl-vinyl-ketone and methyl-ethyl-ketone were the most abundant measured oxygenated volatile organic compounds. CO2 and methane emissions peaked during the flaming phase, while the peak of CO emissions occurred during the smoldering phase. Overall, needle/leaf combustion released a greater amount of volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere than the combustion of branches and litter. There were few differences between emissions from the combustion of the two tree species, except for some compounds. The combustion of P. halepensis released a great amount of monoterpenes as α-pinene, β-pinene, p-cymene, sabinene, 3-carene, terpinolene and camphene that are not emitted from the combustion of Q. pubescens. The combustion of branches showed the longest duration of flaming and peak of temperature. Data presented appear crucial for modeling with the intent of understanding the loss of C during different phases of fire and how different typologies of biomass can affect wildfires and their speciation emissions profile.

Online Link(s):
Pallozzi, Emanuele; Lusini, Ilaria; Cherubini, Lucia; Hajiaghayeva, Ramilla A.; Ciccioli, Paolo; Calfapietra, Carlo. 2018. Differences between a deciduous and a conifer tree species in gaseous and particulate emissions from biomass burning. Environmental Pollution 234:457-467.