Thermo- and physicochemical properties of native and exotic forest species of valparaíso, Chile, as essential information for fire risk management.
Wildfires in the Valparaíso region (Chile) account for one of the main threats to local biodiversity, ecosystem services and infrastructure. This study focused on producing an initial record of thermo- and physicochemical properties of local forest species. For this purpose, leaf samples of species found in the Peñuelas Lake National Reserve, namely Pinus radiata, Eucalyptus globulus, Acacia dealbata, Quillaja saponaria and Cryptocarya alba, were collected and analysed. Higher and lower heating value, flash point, density and moisture content tests were performed for each sample. Overall results showed that lower heating values measured for both native and exotic species could indicate a high energy release source in wildfires. However, differences in the flash point between species indicated that C. alba and E. globulus had a lower ignition resistance than other species tested, possibly due to a lower flash point. In contrast, Q. saponaria and A. dealbata had the highest flash point for native and exotic species respectively. Finally, all presented data and procedures were aimed at establishing a foundation for a national database of critical forest species properties to be used in wildfire simulation tools. This database will enhance forest fire management effectiveness in Chile.