Remote Sens. 2013, 5(12), 6938-6957; doi:10.3390/rs5126938
Article

Long-Term Satellite Detection of Post-Fire Vegetation Trends in Boreal Forests of China

1 Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-8589, Japan 2 Research Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-8589, Japan 3 School of Environmental Sciences, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130117, China 4 School of Geographical Sciences, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 November 2013; in revised form: 2 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 12 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quantifying the Environmental Impact of Forest Fires)
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Abstract: This paper describes the long-term effects on vegetation following the catastrophic fire in 1987 on the northern Great Xing’an Mountain by analyzing the AVHRR GIMMS 15-day composite normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) dataset. Both temporal and spatial characteristics were analyzed for natural regeneration and tree planting scenarios from 1984 to 2006. Regressing post-fire NDVI values on the pre-fire values helped identify the NDVI for burnt pixels in vegetation stands. Stand differences in fire damage were classified into five levels: Very High (VH), High (H), Moderate (M), Low (L) and Slight (S). Furthermore, intra-annual and inter-annual post-fire vegetation recovery trajectories were analyzed by deriving a time series of NDVI and relative regrowth index (RRI) values for the entire burned area. Finally, spatial pattern and trend analyses were conducted using the pixel-based post-fire annual stands regrowth index (SRI) with a nonparametric Mann-Kendall (MK) statistics method. The results show that October was a better period compared to other months for distinguishing the post- and pre-fire vegetation conditions using the NDVI signals in boreal forests of China because colored leaves on grasses and shrubs fall down, while the leaves on healthy trees remain green in October. The MK statistics method is robustly capable of detecting vegetation trends in a relatively long time series. Because tree planting primarily occurred in the severely burned area (approximately equal to the Medium, High and Very High fire damage areas) following the Daxing’anling fire in 1987, the severely burned area exhibited a better recovery trend than the lightly burned regions. Reasonable tree planting can substantially quicken the recovery and shorten the restoration time of the target species. More detailed satellite analyses and field data will be required in the future for a more convincing validation of the results.
Keywords: wildfire; remote sensing; vegetation recovery; Mann-Kendall; Great Xing’an Mountain; boreal forest

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MDPI and ACS Style

Yi, K.; Tani, H.; Zhang, J.; Guo, M.; Wang, X.; Zhong, G. Long-Term Satellite Detection of Post-Fire Vegetation Trends in Boreal Forests of China. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 6938-6957.

AMA Style

Yi K, Tani H, Zhang J, Guo M, Wang X, Zhong G. Long-Term Satellite Detection of Post-Fire Vegetation Trends in Boreal Forests of China. Remote Sensing. 2013; 5(12):6938-6957.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Yi, Kunpeng; Tani, Hiroshi; Zhang, Jiquan; Guo, Meng; Wang, Xiufeng; Zhong, Guosheng. 2013. "Long-Term Satellite Detection of Post-Fire Vegetation Trends in Boreal Forests of China." Remote Sens. 5, no. 12: 6938-6957.

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