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Sensors 2018, 18(2), 647;

Determining Forest Duff Water Content Using a Low-Cost Standing Wave Ratio Sensor

School of Technology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
College of Information and Electrical Engineering, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 January 2018 / Revised: 5 February 2018 / Accepted: 13 February 2018 / Published: 22 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Forest duff (fermentation and humus) water content is an important parameter for fire risk prediction and water resource management. However, accurate determination of forest duff water content is difficult due to its loose structure. This study evaluates the feasibility of a standing wave ratio (SWR) sensor to accurately determine the forest duff water content. The performance of this sensor was tested on fermentation and humus with eight different compaction levels. Meanwhile, a commercialized time domain reflectometry (TDR) was employed for comparison. Calibration results showed that there were strong linear relationships between the volumetric water content (θV) and the SWR sensor readings (VSWR) at different compaction classes for both fermentation and humus samples. The sensor readings of both SWR and TDR underestimated the forest duff water content at low compacted levels, proving that the compaction of forest duff could significantly affect the measurement accuracy of both sensors. Experimental data also showed that the accuracy of the SWR sensor was higher than that of TDR according to the root mean square error (RMSE). Furthermore, low cost is another important advantage of the SWR sensor in comparison with TDR. This low-cost SWR sensor performs well in loose materials and is feasible for evaluating the water content of forest duff. In addition, the results indicate that decomposition of the forest duff should be taken into account for continuous and long-term water content measurement. View Full-Text
Keywords: standing wave ratio; forest duff; volumetric water content; compaction standing wave ratio; forest duff; volumetric water content; compaction

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Yan, X.; Zhao, Y.; Cheng, Q.; Zheng, X.; Zhao, Y. Determining Forest Duff Water Content Using a Low-Cost Standing Wave Ratio Sensor. Sensors 2018, 18, 647.

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