Predicting the height to live crown base in plantations of four boreal forest species
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): R. S. McAlpine; M. W. Hobbs
Publication Year: 1994

Cataloging Information

  • age classes
  • boreal forests
  • Canada
  • coniferous forests
  • crown fires
  • fire intensity
  • forest management
  • fuel loading
  • fuel management
  • live fuels
  • Ontario
  • Picea
  • Picea glauca
  • Picea mariana
  • pine forests
  • Pinus banksiana
  • Pinus resinosa
  • plantations
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 35717
Tall Timbers Record Number: 10042
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-I
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy 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 the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


A critical parameter for the initiation and propagation of a crown fire in the boreal forest is the height to the base of the live crown. The initiation of crown fire requires that the surface fire intensity must be sufficient to 'jump' the gap between the forest floor and the live crown and ignite crown fuels. The greater the height of the live crown base,the more intense the surface fire must be to induce a crown fire. Plantation forest fuels tend to be more structured and have less variability than naturally regenerated areas, allowing prediction of the height of the live crown base to be made from commonly available stand parameters. Plantations of four commonly planted boreal forest species were sampled over a variety of age classes to determine a predictive relationship for height to live crown base. Height to live crown base can be predicted from stand height and density for Pinus banksiana (jack pine), Pinus resinosa (red pine), Picea mariana (black spruce), and Picea glauca (white spruce). In addition to predicting the height to live crown base, parameters within the equations lead to other observations. Crown foliar fuel loading does not change with stand height following crown closure in red pine but in the other three species crown fuel load increases as the stand grows taller. ©IAWF Abstract reproduced from the International Journal of Wildland Fire (McAlpine, R.S. and M.W. Hobbs, 1994) with the kind permission of CSIRO PUBLISHING on behalf of the International Association of Wildland Fire. ( Abstract may not be reproduced in any other publication, whether printed or electronic, without the prior written permission of CSIRO PUBLISHING.

Online Link(s):
McAlpine, R. S., and M. W. Hobbs. 1994. Predicting the height to live crown base in plantations of four boreal forest species. International Journal of Wildland Fire, v. 4, no. 2, p. 103-106.