The flammability of forest and woodland litter: A synthesis

J. Morgan Varner, Jeffrey M. Kane, Jesse K. Kreye, Eamon Engber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Fire behavior and effects in forests and woodlands are influenced by surface fuels and senesced leaf litter in particular. We have known that species exhibit differential flammability for some time, but isolated efforts have often attributed differences to disparate mechanisms. Recent research has expanded the diversity of species evaluated, clarified patterns at the fuelbed level, and provided evidence that the physical and chemical traits of litter or fuelbeds drive flammability. To date, little effort has focused on uniting methods, clarifying the awkward terminology, or, perhaps most importantly, comparing laboratory findings to field observations of fire behavior. Here, we review recent literature and synthesize findings on what we know about the flammability of litter and propose future research directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-99
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Forestry Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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