Forest growth and fire fuel predictions for air quality modeling
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Forest Growth and Fire Fuel Predictions for Air Quality Modeling. Limei Ran, Uma Shankar, Aijun Xiu, B.H. Baek, Zac Adelman Institute for the Environment, UNC Don McKenzie Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory, USDA FS Steve McNulty, Jennifer Moore Myers

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Forest Growth and Fire Fuel Predictions for Air Quality Modeling

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Forest growth and fire fuel predictions for air quality modeling

Forest Growth and Fire Fuel Predictions for Air Quality Modeling

Limei Ran, Uma Shankar, Aijun Xiu, B.H. Baek, Zac Adelman

Institute for the Environment, UNC

Don McKenzie

Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory, USDA FS

Steve McNulty, Jennifer Moore Myers

Southern Global Change Program, USDA FS

Outline of the presentation

Outline of the Presentation

  • Background of the Study.

  • PnET-II Forest Growth Model (2000-2050)

  • Base Year and Future Year Fuel Estimation and BlueSky/SMOKE Modeling

  • Fire Scenario Builder and Biogenic Emission Estimation

  • Issues with PnET II Model and Fuel Estimation

  • Acknowledgements

Background of the study

Background of the study

  • Part of research under project -- Integrated Modeling of Forest Growth, Fire Emissions, and Air Quality in Future Climate (EPA STAR)

  • Purpose of the project is to:

    • Study the effects of climate change on forest growth and fire frequency and intensity

    • Investigate methods to model fire and biogenic emissions from future forest.

    • Examine impact of climate change from wild fire on U.S. air quality

Forest growth and fire fuel predictions for air quality modeling

Integrated Modeling System

Monthly met.

Fire Scenario




Base &

future year

fuel data

Initial &














activity data




Gridded &



Pnet ii forest growth model

PnET-II Forest Growth Model

  • Use PnET-II model within the PEcon Model developed at SGCP.

  • PEcon is a coupled modeling system with:

    • PnET model and SRTS (Sub-regional Timber Supply Model )

  • PnET model developed to predict forest productivity based on climate, site information, and vegetation parameters.

  • SGCP provided the model and data bases to run the model in SE 11 states from 1990-2198

Forest growth and fire fuel predictions for air quality modeling

Flow Chart of PEcon



Update Equilibrium





Allocate Harvest




Calculate Acres Harvested

Calculate Growth


Update Acres




FIA Plot



Model modifications and input data preparation

Model Modifications and Input Data Preparation

  • Modified PEcon codes to fit our project

  • Created new input data in SE 13 states at county-level

    • New site data (WHC, DEM, lat-long, land area)

    • Monthly met data (9 parameters) from CCSM (2000-2050) and NARR (2000-2006) historic data

    • Spatial table to relate counties to CCSM and NARR grids

  • Computed yearly biomass from plot/species to county/species groups from 2000 FIA biomass and PnET output.

  • For the presentation, used PnET output from SGCP database due to extreme temp. problem in CCSM

Fuel load estimation and bluesky smoke modeling

Fuel Load Estimation and BlueSky/SMOKE Modeling

  • BlueSky takes three input files to model fire emission

    • 1-km grids with FCCS fuelbed IDs (114 unique IDs)

    • Fuel load lookup table (DWM, grass, shrub, and canopy)

    • Fire information data (location and area burned)

  • Created FIA species group to FCCS fuel bed cross walking table to consistently revise FCCS DWM and canopy

  • Created a Perl program to revise fuel loads based on:

    • 1. DWM_Biomass 2. FCCS fuel cell with FIPS

    • 3. FCCS fuel table4. FIA2FCCS table

  • Base Year 2002 BlueSky/SMOKE run:

    • 2002 FIA DWM and biomass obtained from FS SRS at Knoxville

    • VISTAS fire information

54 fccs fuelbeds in se

54 FCCS Fuelbeds in SE

180Red maple - Oak - Hickory - Sweetgum forest

181Pond pine forest

182Longleaf pine - Slash pine / Saw palmetto - Gallberry forest

184Longleaf pine / Turkey oak forest

186Turkey oak - Bluejack oak forest

187Longleaf pine / Yaupon forest

189Sand pine - Oak forest

203Sawgrass - Muhlenbergia grassland

210Pinyon - Juniper forest

232Mesquite savanna

236Tobosa - Grama grassland

240Saw palmetto / Three-awned grass shrubland

264Post oak - Blackjack oak forest

267American beech - Yellow birch - Sugar maple - Red spruce forest

269Sugar maple - Yellow poplar - American beech - Oak forest

270Red spruce - Fraser fir / Rhododendron forest

272Red mangrove - Black mangrove forest

274American beech - Sugar maple forest

275Chestnut oak - White oak - Red oak forest

276Oak - Pine - Magnolia forest

280Bluestem - Gulf cordgrass grassland

281Shortleaf pine - Post oak - Black oak forest

282Loblolly pine forest

283Willow oak - Laurel oak - Water oak forest

284Green ash - American elm - Silver maple - Cottonwood forest

  • Bald-cypress - Water tupelo forest

    289Pond-cypress / Muhlenbergia - Sawgrass savanna

0Urban - agriculture - barren

27Ponderosa pine - Two-needle pine - Juniper forest

30Turbinella oak - Ceanothus - Mountain mahogany shrubland

43Arizona white oak - Silverleaf oak - Emory oak woodland

49Creosote bush shrubland

55Western juniper / Sagebrush savanna

56Sagebrush shrubland

57Wheatgrass - Cheatgrass grassland

66Bluebunch wheatgrass - Bluegrass grassland

90White oak - Northern red oak forest

107Pitch pine / Scrub oak forest

109Eastern white pine - Northern red oak - Red maple forest

110American beech - Yellow birch - Sugar maple forest

114Virginia pine - Pitch pine - Shortleaf pine forest

123White oak - Northern red oak - Black oak - Hickory forest

131Bluestem - Indian grass - Switchgrass grassland

133Tall fescue - Foxtail - Purple bluestem grassland

135Eastern redcedar - Oak / Bluestem savanna

154Bur oak savanna

157Loblolly pine - Shortleaf pine - Mixed hardwoods forest

164Sand pine forest

165Longleaf pine / Three-awned grass - Pitcher plant grassland

166Longleaf pine / Three-awned grass - Pitcher plant savanna

168Little gallberry - Fetterbush shrubland

173Live oak / Sea oats savanna

174Live oak - Sabal palm forest

175Smooth cordgrass - Black needlerush grassland

29 fia species groups to fccs fuelbeds

29 FIA Species Groups to FCCS Fuelbeds

Pec emission from revised and original fccs fuel loads

Revised FCCS

PEC Emission from Revised and Original FCCS Fuel Loads

Original FCCS

Future year fuel load estimation

Future Year Fuel Load Estimation

  • Preliminary statistical analysis to build predictive models (in SAS E. Miner) for DWM from biomass and related data did not show good results.

  • DWM variability is more associated with stand disturbances and climate than directly with biomass.

  • Use base year DWM data

  • Update canopy fuels as a fixed proportion of total simulated biomass

Fire scenario builder and biogenic emission estimation

Fire Scenario Builder and Biogenic Emission Estimation

Fire Prediction

  • Dr. McKenzie will provide us base and future fire information from FSB in Western US for better boundary conditions.

  • Working on creating input data sets to run FSB in eastern US (including human-caused ignitions with FS SRS in RTP).

    Biogenic Emission

  • Will Use MEGAN to generate biogenic emissions.

  • MEGAN takes gridded monthly LAI, climate data, plant function type and emission factor files.

  • Compute LAI for species group at county level from PnET.

  • Update MEGAN LAI grid file by allocating county-level LAI of species groups with matching MEGAN plant function types.

  • Update monthly met data using CCSM.

Issues with pnet ii model

Issues with PnET II Model

  • PnET does not model spatial changes in vegetation species

  • Constant expansion factor for species biomass from plot to county

  • Assumed that mortality and removal rates remain the same

  • Used 10% of biomass for canopy fuel for all forest types.

  • CCSM: extreme monthly min and max temperature during summer months.

Issues with fuel estimation

Issues with Fuel Estimation

  • Potential biases in crosswalk from FIA to FCCS

  • FCCS fuelbeds have default values with no spatial variability across landscapes and it is difficult to verify current FCCS fuels

  • Impossible to verify future prediction

  • Assume all other emissions remain the same

  • Despite many uncertainties, we can still predict changing fire and biogenic emissions from changing canopies.

  • It does provide new ways of integrating forest growth and fuel changes for future air quality modeling.




  • We gratefully acknowledge the support of the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station at Knoxville, TN. We thank Jeffery Turner, Samuel Lambert, and Sonja N. Oswalt for processing FIA P2 and P3 data in southeast US for us and advising us how to use the data properly. The work benefited a lot from the SQL support provided by Darin Del Vecchio on processing current and future biomass data into counties.

  • This project is fully funded by US EPA under the STAR Grant RD 83227701.

Forest growth and fire fuel predictions for air quality modeling




  • Map

  • Types

  • 500mb

  • 700mb


Ignition Avail

Fire Generator

Fire Scenario Builder


(mesoscale model)

Fire frequency

& fuel maps




Equations predict fuel

moisture in fuel size

classes that carry fire.

Fire Starts

Fire Sizes

Human ignitions


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