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Monitoring the Effects of Forest Restoration Treatments on Post-Fire Vegetation Recovery with MODIS Multitemporal Data
Department of Geography and Regional Development and the Office of Arid Lands Studies, 1955 E. Sixth Street, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Received: 29 January 2008; Accepted: 21 March 2008 / Published: 25 March 2008
Abstract: This study examines how satellite based time-series vegetation greenness data and phenological measurements can be used to monitor and quantify vegetation recovery after wildfire disturbances and examine how pre-fire fuel reduction restoration treatments impact fire severity and impact vegetation recovery trajectories. Pairs of wildfire affected sites and a nearby unburned reference site were chosen to measure the post-disturbance recovery in relation to climate variation. All site pairs were chosen in forested uplands in Arizona and were restricted to the area of the Rodeo-Chediski fire that occurred in 2002. Fuel reduction treatments were performed in 1999 and 2001. The inter-annual and seasonal vegetation dynamics before, during, and after wildfire events can be monitored using a time series of biweekly composited MODIS NDVI (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer - Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) data. Time series analysis methods included difference metrics, smoothing filters, and fitting functions that were applied to extract seasonal and inter-annual change and phenological metrics from the NDVI time series data from 2000 to 2007. Pre- and post-fire Landsat data were used to compute the Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) and examine burn severity at the selected sites. The phenological metrics (pheno-metrics) included the timing and greenness (i.e. NDVI) for the start, peak and end of the growing season as well as proxy measures for the rate of green-up and senescence and the annual vegetation productivity. Pre-fire fuel reduction treatments resulted in lower fire severity, which reduced annual productivity much less than untreated areas within the Rodeo-Chediski fire perimeter. The seasonal metrics were shown to be useful for estimating the rate of post-fire disturbance recovery and the timing of phenological greenness phases. The use of satellite time series NDVI data and derived pheno-metrics show potential for tracking vegetation cover dynamics and successional changes in response to drought, wildfire disturbances, and forest restoration treatments in fire-suppressed forests.
Keywords: vegetation recovery; phenology; fire severity; fuel reduction treatments; MODIS; LANDSAT.
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Van Leeuwen, W.J.D. Monitoring the Effects of Forest Restoration Treatments on Post-Fire Vegetation Recovery with MODIS Multitemporal Data. Sensors 2008, 8, 2017-2042.
Van Leeuwen WJD. Monitoring the Effects of Forest Restoration Treatments on Post-Fire Vegetation Recovery with MODIS Multitemporal Data. Sensors. 2008; 8(3):2017-2042.
Van Leeuwen, Willem J.D. 2008. "Monitoring the Effects of Forest Restoration Treatments on Post-Fire Vegetation Recovery with MODIS Multitemporal Data." Sensors 8, no. 3: 2017-2042.