Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Michael S. Ross

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

James R. Snyder

Third Advisor's Name

Bradley C. Bennett

Fourth Advisor's Name

Alice L. Clarke

Date of Defense



In this study, the relationships between the time since last fire and the contributions of two palm species (Silverpalm, Coccothrinax argentata and Key Thatch Palm, Thrinax morrisii) to the burnable fuel load in the lower Florida Keys were examined. The population size distributions, effects of fire and plant size on mortality, annual growth rate, minimum reproductive size, and leaf moisture content of the palms were also determined.

Regression models were developed to estimate the live and attached dead burnable biomass for both palm species. Equations with crown area and number of leaves as independent variables best predicted the amount of burnable biomass. Fuel accumulation was then modeled to determine the time until different biomass components begin to stabilize after fire. Live palm biomass continued to increase for approximately 2-5 years after fire, while dead attached biomass continued to increase for up to 15-20 years. In the burned sites a greater percent of mortality was observed in the larger palms.




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