Fuel loading in the Southern Appalachian Mountains may be a function of site quality and decomposition ratesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Fuel distribution in the Southern Appalachian Mountain region was measured on 1,008 study plots that were stratified by topographic position (aspect and slope position). Few fuel differences occurred among topographic positions indicating that fuel accumulation is no greater on highly productive sites than on less productive sites. Litter was slightly higher on undisturbed upper slopes than on lower slopes but woody fuels showed no significant differences. Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.) and mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) were less common than expected occurring on 25 and 42 percent of sampled plots, respectively. The lack of significant differences among topographic positions for woody fuels suggests that varying inputs associated with site productivity are balanced by varying decomposition rates.