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Special Issue "New Sensors, Multi-Sensor Integration, Large Volumes: New Opportunities and Challenges in Forest Fire Research"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Diofantos Hadjimitsis

Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Eratosthenes Research Centre, Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol, Cyprus
Website | E-Mail
Interests: remote sensing and geo-information of the environment (e.g., cultural heritage, archaeology, hazards etc.); field spectroscopy
Guest Editor
Prof. Ioannis Gitas

Laboratory of Forest Management and Remote Sensing, School of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +30 2310 992677
Interests: forest fires; pre-fire planning and post-fire assessment; land use/land cover mapping; soil erosion risk assessment/desertification; other environmental applications of remote sensing and GIS
Guest Editor
Dr. Luigi Boschetti

Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources and Society, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: (+1)208-885-6508
Interests: fire behavior and modelling; fire effects on vegetation, soils, and hydrology; algorithm development and monitoring through the remote sensing of fires with radiometers, unmanned aerial devices, aircraft, and satellite sensors
Guest Editor
Dr. Kyriacos Themistocleous

Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Cyprus University of Technology, 3036 Lemesos, Cyprus
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental sciences; aerial and satellite remote sensing; geographical information systems (GIS); spectroscopy; geophysics; atmospheric correction; UAVs; ground penetrating radar; water-agriculture-atmospheric remote sensing; land use; life cycle cost; cultural heritage; architecture; urban design; real estate; energy efficiency

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The past few years have seen the successful launch of several satellite systems (e.g., SUOMI-VIIRS, Landsat 8, Sentinel 1A, Sentinel 2A) that will ensure systematic fire monitoring, both at coarse and at moderate resolution, and that will open unprecedented opportunities for multi-sensor fusion and for the automatic processing of large volumes of data.

The 10th EARSeL Forest Fire Workshop will take place in Limassol, Cyprus from 2 to 5 November, 2015, with a primary focus on "Sensors, Multi-Sensor Integration, Large Volumes: New Opportunities and Challenges in Forest Fire Research".  Thematic sessions will be dedicated to the use of multi-scale sensors, including UAV, drone, aircraft, helicopter, Landsat/Sentinel, MODIS/PROBA, and systematic observations through Landsat WELD and Sentinel 1/2/3 to conduct research in forest fires.

Remote sensing of fire has a long heritage: the potential of satellite data for providing thematic information on active fires and burned areas has been explored since the first civilian earth observation missions. However, the launch of MODIS—the first sensor with dedicated fire bands—and more recently the open and free distribution policy of Landsat data have significantly increased the relevance of satellite data in fire sciences.

In recent years, the range of applications has increased significantly, including the assessment of the short-term and long-term impact caused by fire to the environment, as a result of the following:

  • increase in the number of sensors with spectral characteristics suitable for studying aspects of fire
  • improvement of our understanding of the role of fire in ecosystems functioning
  • progress in computer technology (hardware, software), with particular regard to the distribution and processing of large datasets
  • development of new advanced digital image analysis techniques
  • improved access to and availability of satellite data and derived products.

For over a decade remotely sensed data have been used systematically to detect active fire and burned areas, and to estimate atmospheric emissions due to biomass burning. Additionally, satellite data are now being used more and more for fire characterization and for fire ecology studies, characterizing the impact of fires on the landscape and linking fire frequency and intensity to ecological changes.

As we attempt to model the Earth System, it is important that the impact of forest fires on the Earth System is fully understood and quantified. These impacts can be on climate, the biosphere, ecosystem functioning, society and livelihood. Fire disturbance has been recognized as an Essential Climate Variable required to support the work of the IPCC and UNFCC. Forest disturbance and the associated carbon flux needs to be measured and reported under the United Nations REDD+ program. Furthermore, there has been significant progress in understanding the short term impacts of fire on forests, but understanding the response of vegetation under different fire frequency and severity scenarios remains a challenge.

The EARSeL Special Interest Group on Forest Fires (FF-SIG) was created in 1995, following the initiative of several researchers studying fires in Mediterranean Europe. The FF-SIG, which currently represents one of the most active groups within EARSeL, promotes the integration of advanced technologies and the production of satellite-derived products for the benefit of forest managers, researchers, local governments and global organizations.

In this context, since its foundation the FF-SIG, has organized workshops and promoted research through specialized publications. The nine workshops organized by the group, so far, were held in Alcalá de Henares (1995), Luso (1998), Paris (2001), Ghent (2003), Zaragoza (2005), Thessaloniki (2007), Matera (2009), Stresa (2011), and Coombe Abbey (2013). These workshops resulted in outstanding progress made in forest fire research, and  selected papers presented in these technical meetings were included in Special Issues of scientific journals related to forest fires and remote sensing ,such as the International Journal of Remote Sensing, the Remote Sensing of Environment, the Journal of Geophysical Research, the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, the International Journal of Wildland Fire (special section), and MDPI’s Remote Sensing.

The 10th EARSel Forest Fire Workshop is organized by the Cyprus Remote Sensing Society in collaboration with the Cyprus University of Technology and the School of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The workshop and the proposed Special Issue will be focused on quantifying the environmental impact of fire at a number of scales and they are expected to result in a set of papers of great interest for many users of satellite-derived fire products. We invite you to submit articles on the following topics:

1. The use of multi-scale sensors, including UAV, drone, aircraft, helicopter, Landsat/Sentinel, MODIS/PROBA

2. Systematic observations through Landsat WELD and Sentinel 1/2/3

3. Characterizing the impact of fire severity and fire frequency across vegetation types

4. Validation methods for burned area mapping

5. Monitoring and modeling vegetation recovery after fire disturbance

6. Scaling from regional to global burned area maps

7. Mapping forest fires for REDD+ MRV

8. Using active fire mapping and fire radiative energy to inform on fire severity and impact

Authors are required to check and follow specific Instructions to Authors, see https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/165068305/Remote_Sensing-Additional_Instructions.pdf.

Prof. Diofantos Hadjimitsis
Prof. Ioannis Gitas
Prof. Luigi Boschetti
Dr. Kyriacos Themistocleous
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Open AccessArticle Calibrating Satellite-Based Indices of Burn Severity from UAV-Derived Metrics of a Burned Boreal Forest in NWT, Canada
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(3), 279; doi:10.3390/rs9030279
Received: 9 February 2017 / Revised: 9 March 2017 / Accepted: 13 March 2017 / Published: 16 March 2017
PDF Full-text (25156 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Wildfires are a dominant disturbance to boreal forests, and in North America, they typically cause widespread tree mortality. Forest fire burn severity is often measured at a plot scale using the Composite Burn Index (CBI), which was originally developed as a means of
[...] Read more.
Wildfires are a dominant disturbance to boreal forests, and in North America, they typically cause widespread tree mortality. Forest fire burn severity is often measured at a plot scale using the Composite Burn Index (CBI), which was originally developed as a means of assigning severity levels to the Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) computed from Landsat satellite imagery. Our study investigated the potential to map biophysical indicators of burn severity (residual green vegetation and charred organic surface) at very high (3 cm) resolution, using color orthomosaics and vegetation height models derived from UAV-based photographic surveys and Structure from Motion methods. These indicators were scaled to 30 m resolution Landsat pixel footprints and compared to the post-burn NBR (post-NBR) and differenced NBR (dNBR) ratios computed from pre- and post-fire Landsat imagery. The post-NBR showed the strongest relationship to both the fraction of charred surface (exponential R2 = 0.79) and the fraction of green crown vegetation above 5 m (exponential R2 = 0.81), while the dNBR was more closely related to the total green vegetation fraction (exponential R2 = 0.69). Additionally, the UAV green fraction and Landsat indices could individually explain more than 50% of the variance in the overall CBI measured in 39 plots. These results provide a proof-of-concept for using low-cost UAV photogrammetric mapping to quantify key measures of boreal burn severity at landscape scales, which could be used to calibrate and assign a biophysical meaning to Landsat spectral indices for mapping severity at regional scales. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Can We Go Beyond Burned Area in the Assessment of Global Remote Sensing Products with Fire Patch Metrics?
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(1), 7; doi:10.3390/rs9010007
Received: 19 August 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 25 December 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (9116 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Global burned area (BA) datasets from satellite Earth observations provide information for carbon emission and for Dynamic Global Vegetation Model (DGVM) benchmarking. Fire patch identification from pixel-level information recently emerged as an additional way of providing informative features about fire regimes through the
[...] Read more.
Global burned area (BA) datasets from satellite Earth observations provide information for carbon emission and for Dynamic Global Vegetation Model (DGVM) benchmarking. Fire patch identification from pixel-level information recently emerged as an additional way of providing informative features about fire regimes through the analysis of patch size distribution. We evaluated the ability of global BA products to accurately represent morphological features of fire patches, in the fire-prone Brazilian savannas. We used the pixel-level burned area from LANDSAT images, as well as two global products: MODIS MCD45A1 and the European Space Agency (ESA) fire Climate Change Initiative (FIRE_CCI) product for the 2002–2009 time period. Individual fire patches were compared by linear regressions to test the consistency of global products as a source of burned patch shape information. Despite commission and omission errors respectively reaching 0.74 and 0.81 for ESA FIRE_CCI and 0.64 and 0.62 for MCD45A1 when compared to LANDSAT due to missing small fires, correlations between patch areas showed R2 > 0.6 for all comparisons, with a slope of 0.99 between ESA FIRE_CCI and MCD45A1 but a lower slope (0.6–0.8) when compared to the LANDSAT data. Shape complexity between global products was less correlated (R2 = 0.5) with lower values (R2 = 0.2) between global products and LANDSAT data, due to their coarser resolution. For the morphological features of the ellipse fitted over fire patches, R2 reached 0.6 for the ellipse’s eccentricity and varied from 0.4 to 0.8 for its azimuthal directional angle. We conclude that global BA products underestimate total BA as they miss small fires, but they also underestimate burned patch areas. Patch complexity is the least correlated variable, but ellipse features appear to provide information to be further used for quality product assessment, global pyrogeography or DGVM benchmarking. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Development of a Multi-Spatial Resolution Approach to the Surveillance of Active Fire Lines Using Himawari-8
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(11), 932; doi:10.3390/rs8110932
Received: 24 August 2016 / Revised: 26 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (16611 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Satellite remote sensing is regularly used for wildfire detection, fire severity mapping and burnt area mapping. Applications in the surveillance of wildfire using geostationary-based sensors have been limited by low spatial resolutions. With the launch in 2015 of the AHI (Advanced Himawari Imaginer)
[...] Read more.
Satellite remote sensing is regularly used for wildfire detection, fire severity mapping and burnt area mapping. Applications in the surveillance of wildfire using geostationary-based sensors have been limited by low spatial resolutions. With the launch in 2015 of the AHI (Advanced Himawari Imaginer) sensor on board Himawari-8, ten-minute interval imagery is available covering an entire earth hemisphere across East Asia and Australasia. Existing active fire detection algorithms depend on middle infrared (MIR) and thermal infrared (TIR) channels to detect fire. Even though sub-pixel fire detection algorithms can detect much smaller fires, the location of the fire within the AHI 2 × 2 km (400 ha) MIR/TIR pixel is unknown. This limits the application of AHI as a wildfire surveillance and tracking sensor. A new multi-spatial resolution approach is presented in this paper that utilizes the available medium resolution channels in AHI. The proposed algorithm is able to map firelines at a 500 m resolution. This is achieved using near infrared (NIR) (1 km) and RED (500 m) data to detect burnt area and smoke within the flagged MIR (2 km) pixel. Initial results based on three case studies carried out in Western Australia shows that the algorithm was able to continuously track fires during the day at 500 m resolution. The results also demonstrate the utility for wildfire management activities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Separability Analysis of Sentinel-2A Multi-Spectral Instrument (MSI) Data for Burned Area Discrimination
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(10), 873; doi:10.3390/rs8100873
Received: 12 July 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 18 October 2016 / Published: 22 October 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (10220 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biomass burning is a global phenomenon and systematic burned area mapping is of increasing importance for science and applications. With high spatial resolution and novelty in band design, the recently launched Sentinel-2A satellite provides a new opportunity for moderate spatial resolution burned area
[...] Read more.
Biomass burning is a global phenomenon and systematic burned area mapping is of increasing importance for science and applications. With high spatial resolution and novelty in band design, the recently launched Sentinel-2A satellite provides a new opportunity for moderate spatial resolution burned area mapping. This study examines the performance of the Sentinel-2A Multi Spectral Instrument (MSI) bands and derived spectral indices to differentiate between unburned and burned areas. For this purpose, five pairs of pre-fire and post-fire top of atmosphere (TOA reflectance) and atmospherically corrected (surface reflectance) images were studied. The pixel values of locations that were unburned in the first image and burned in the second image, as well as the values of locations that were unburned in both images which served as a control, were compared and the discrimination of individual bands and spectral indices were evaluated using parametric (transformed divergence) and non-parametric (decision tree) approaches. Based on the results, the most suitable MSI bands to detect burned areas are the 20 m near-infrared, short wave infrared and red-edge bands, while the performance of the spectral indices varied with location. The atmospheric correction only significantly influenced the separability of the visible wavelength bands. The results provide insights that are useful for developing Sentinel-2 burned area mapping algorithms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Post-Fire Changes in Forest Biomass Retrieved by Airborne LiDAR in Amazonia
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(10), 839; doi:10.3390/rs8100839
Received: 6 July 2016 / Revised: 9 September 2016 / Accepted: 27 September 2016 / Published: 20 October 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (9179 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fire is one of the main factors directly impacting Amazonian forest biomass and dynamics. Because of Amazonia’s large geographical extent, remote sensing techniques are required for comprehensively assessing forest fire impacts at the landscape level. In this context, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)
[...] Read more.
Fire is one of the main factors directly impacting Amazonian forest biomass and dynamics. Because of Amazonia’s large geographical extent, remote sensing techniques are required for comprehensively assessing forest fire impacts at the landscape level. In this context, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) stands out as a technology capable of retrieving direct measurements of vegetation vertical arrangement, which can be directly associated with aboveground biomass. This work aims, for the first time, to quantify post-fire changes in forest canopy height and biomass using airborne LiDAR in western Amazonia. For this, the present study evaluated four areas located in the state of Acre, called Rio Branco, Humaitá, Bonal and Talismã. Rio Branco and Humaitá burned in 2005 and Bonal and Talismã burned in 2010. In these areas, we inventoried a total of 25 plots (0.25 ha each) in 2014. Humaitá and Talismã are located in an open forest with bamboo and Bonal and Rio Branco are located in a dense forest. Our results showed that even ten years after the fire event, there was no complete recovery of the height and biomass of the burned areas (p < 0.05). The percentage difference in height between control and burned sites was 2.23% for Rio Branco, 9.26% for Humaitá, 10.03% for Talismã and 20.25% for Bonal. All burned sites had significantly lower biomass values than control sites. In Rio Branco (ten years after fire), Humaitá (nine years after fire), Bonal (four years after fire) and Talismã (five years after fire) biomass was 6.71%, 13.66%, 17.89% and 22.69% lower than control sites, respectively. The total amount of biomass lost for the studied sites was 16,706.3 Mg, with an average loss of 4176.6 Mg for sites burned in 2005 and 2890 Mg for sites burned in 2010, with an average loss of 3615 Mg. Fire impact associated with tree mortality was clearly detected using LiDAR data up to ten years after the fire event. This study indicates that fire disturbance in the Amazon region can cause persistent above-ground biomass loss and subsequent reduction of forest carbon stocks. Continuous monitoring of burned forests is required for depicting the long-term recovery trajectory of fire-affected Amazonian forests. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Assessment of Pre- and Post Fire Near Surface Fuel Hazard in an Australian Dry Sclerophyll Forest Using Point Cloud Data Captured Using a Terrestrial Laser Scanner
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(8), 679; doi:10.3390/rs8080679
Received: 20 June 2016 / Revised: 5 August 2016 / Accepted: 16 August 2016 / Published: 20 August 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5164 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Assessment of ecological and structrual changes induced by fire events is important for understanding the effects of fire, and planning future ecological and risk mitigation strategies. This study employs Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) data captured at multiple points in time to monitor the
[...] Read more.
Assessment of ecological and structrual changes induced by fire events is important for understanding the effects of fire, and planning future ecological and risk mitigation strategies. This study employs Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) data captured at multiple points in time to monitor the changes in a dry sclerophyll forest induced by a prescribed burn. Point cloud data was collected for two plots; one plot undergoing a fire treatment, and the second plot remaining untreated, thereby acting as the control. Data was collected at three epochs (pre-fire, two weeks post fire and two years post fire). Coregistration of these multitemporal point clouds to within an acceptable tolerance was achieved through a two step process utilising permanent infield markers and manually extracted stem objects as reference targets. Metrics describing fuel height and fuel fragmentation were extracted from the point clouds for direct comparison with industry standard visual assessments. Measurements describing the change (or lack thereof) in the control plot indicate that the method of data capture and coregistration were achieved with the required accuracy to monitor fire induced change. Results from the fire affected plot show that immediately post fire 67% of area had been burnt with the average fuel height decreasing from 0.33 to 0.13 m. At two years post-fire the fuel remained signicantly lower (0.11 m) and more fragmented in comparison to pre-fire levels. Results in both the control and fire altered plot were comparable to synchronus onground visual assessment. The advantage of TLS over the visual assessment method is, however, demonstrated through the use of two physical and spatially quantifiable metrics to describe fuel change. These results highlight the capabilities of multitemporal TLS data for measuring and mapping changes in the three dimensional structure of vegetation. Metrics from point clouds can be derived to provide quantified estimates of surface and near-surface fuel loss and accumulation, and inform prescribed burn efficacy and burn severity reporting. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Highlighting Biome-Specific Sensitivity of Fire Size Distributions to Time-Gap Parameter Using a New Algorithm for Fire Event Individuation
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(8), 663; doi:10.3390/rs8080663
Received: 4 June 2016 / Revised: 5 August 2016 / Accepted: 11 August 2016 / Published: 17 August 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5542 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Detailed spatial-temporal characterization of individual fire dynamics using remote sensing data is important to understand fire-environment relationships, to support landscape-scale fire risk management, and to obtain improved statistics on fire size distributions over broad areas. Previously, individuation of events to quantify fire size
[...] Read more.
Detailed spatial-temporal characterization of individual fire dynamics using remote sensing data is important to understand fire-environment relationships, to support landscape-scale fire risk management, and to obtain improved statistics on fire size distributions over broad areas. Previously, individuation of events to quantify fire size distributions has been performed with the flood-fill algorithm. A key parameter of such algorithms is the time-gap used to cluster spatially adjacent fire-affected pixels and declare them as belonging to the same event. Choice of a time-gap to define a fire event entails several assumptions affecting the degree of clustering/fragmentation of the individual events. We evaluate the impact of different time-gaps on the number, size and spatial distribution of active fire clusters, using a new algorithm. The information produced by this algorithm includes number, size, and ignition date of active fire clusters. The algorithm was tested at a global scale using active fire observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Active fire cluster size distributions were characterized with the Gini coefficient, and the impact of changing time-gap values was analyzed on a 0.5° cell grid. As expected, the number of active fire clusters decreased and their mean size increased with the time-gap value. The largest sensitivity of fire size distributions to time-gap was observed in African tropical savannas and, to a lesser extent, in South America, Southeast Asia, and eastern Siberia. Sensitivity of fire individuation, and thus Gini coefficient values, to time-gap demonstrate the difficulty of individuating fire events in tropical savannas, where coalescence of flame fronts with distinct ignition locations and dates is very common, and fire size distributions strongly depend on algorithm parameterization. Thus, caution should be exercised when attempting to individualize fire events, characterizing their size distributions, and addressing their management implications, particularly in the African savannas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Landscape Effects of Wildfire on Permafrost Distribution in Interior Alaska Derived from Remote Sensing
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(8), 654; doi:10.3390/rs8080654
Received: 9 June 2016 / Revised: 4 August 2016 / Accepted: 9 August 2016 / Published: 12 August 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (9110 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change coupled with an intensifying wildfire regime is becoming an important driver of permafrost loss and ecosystem change in the northern boreal forest. There is a growing need to understand the effects of fire on the spatial distribution of permafrost and its
[...] Read more.
Climate change coupled with an intensifying wildfire regime is becoming an important driver of permafrost loss and ecosystem change in the northern boreal forest. There is a growing need to understand the effects of fire on the spatial distribution of permafrost and its associated ecological consequences. We focus on the effects of fire a decade after disturbance in a rocky upland landscape in the interior Alaskan boreal forest. Our main objectives were to (1) map near-surface permafrost distribution and drainage classes and (2) analyze the controls over landscape-scale patterns of post-fire permafrost degradation. Relationships among remote sensing variables and field-based data on soil properties (temperature, moisture, organic layer thickness) and vegetation (plant community composition) were analyzed using correlation, regression, and ordination analyses. The remote sensing data we considered included spectral indices from optical datasets (Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI)), the principal components of a time series of radar backscatter (Advanced Land Observing Satellite—Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (ALOS-PALSAR)), and topographic variables from a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)-derived digital elevation model (DEM). We found strong empirical relationships between the normalized difference infrared index (NDII) and post-fire vegetation, soil moisture, and soil temperature, enabling us to indirectly map permafrost status and drainage class using regression-based models. The thickness of the insulating surface organic layer after fire, a measure of burn severity, was an important control over the extent of permafrost degradation. According to our classifications, 90% of the area considered to have experienced high severity burn (using the difference normalized burn ratio (dNBR)) lacked permafrost after fire. Permafrost thaw, in turn, likely increased drainage and resulted in drier surface soils. Burn severity also influenced plant community composition, which was tightly linked to soil temperature and moisture. Overall, interactions between burn severity, topography, and vegetation appear to control the distribution of near-surface permafrost and associated drainage conditions after disturbance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spectral Indices Accurately Quantify Changes in Seedling Physiology Following Fire: Towards Mechanistic Assessments of Post-Fire Carbon Cycling
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(7), 572; doi:10.3390/rs8070572
Received: 25 April 2016 / Accepted: 30 June 2016 / Published: 7 July 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (6215 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Fire activity, in terms of intensity, frequency, and total area burned, is expected to increase with a changing climate. A challenge for landscape-level assessment of fire effects, often termed burn severity, is that current remote sensing assessments provide very little information regarding tree/vegetation
[...] Read more.
Fire activity, in terms of intensity, frequency, and total area burned, is expected to increase with a changing climate. A challenge for landscape-level assessment of fire effects, often termed burn severity, is that current remote sensing assessments provide very little information regarding tree/vegetation physiological performance and recovery, limiting our understanding of fire effects on ecosystem services such as carbon storage/cycling. In this paper, we evaluated whether spectral indices common in vegetation stress and burn severity assessments could accurately quantify post-fire physiological performance (indicated by net photosynthesis and crown scorch) of two seedling species, Larix occidentalis and Pinus contorta. Seedlings were subjected to increasing fire radiative energy density (FRED) doses through a series of controlled laboratory surface fires. Mortality, physiology, and spectral reflectance were assessed for a month following the fires, and then again at one year post-fire. The differenced Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (dNDVI) spectral index outperformed other spectral indices used for vegetation stress and burn severity characterization in regard to leaf net photosynthesis quantification, indicating that landscape-level quantification of tree physiology may be possible. Additionally, the survival of the majority of seedlings in the low and moderate FRED doses indicates that fire-induced mortality is more complex than the currently accepted binary scenario, where trees survive with no impacts below a certain temperature and duration threshold, and mortality occurs above the threshold. Full article
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Open AccessLetter Exploring the Relationship between Burn Severity Field Data and Very High Resolution GeoEye Images: The Case of the 2011 Evros Wildfire in Greece
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(7), 566; doi:10.3390/rs8070566
Received: 28 March 2016 / Revised: 21 June 2016 / Accepted: 30 June 2016 / Published: 5 July 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (5015 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Monitoring post-fire vegetation response using remotely-sensed images is a top priority for post-fire management. This study investigated the potential of very-high-resolution (VHR) GeoEye images on detecting the field-measured burn severity of a forest fire that occurred in Evros (Greece) during summer 2011. To
[...] Read more.
Monitoring post-fire vegetation response using remotely-sensed images is a top priority for post-fire management. This study investigated the potential of very-high-resolution (VHR) GeoEye images on detecting the field-measured burn severity of a forest fire that occurred in Evros (Greece) during summer 2011. To do so, we analysed the role of topographic conditions and burn severity, as measured in the field immediately after the fire (2011) and one year after (2012) using the Composite Burn Index (CBI) for explaining the post-fire vegetation response, which is measured using VHR satellite imagery. To determine this relationship, we applied redundancy analysis (RDA), which allowed us to identify which satellite variables among VHR spectral bands and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) can better express the post-fire vegetation response. Results demonstrated that in the first year after the fire event, variations in the post-fire vegetation dynamics can be properly detected using the GeoEye VHR data. Furthermore, results showed that remotely-sensed NDVI-based variables are able to encapsulate burn severity variability over time. Our analysis showed that, in this specific case, burn severity variations are mildly affected by the topography, while the NDVI index, as inferred from VHR data, can be successfully used to monitor the short-term post-fire dynamics of the vegetation recovery. Full article
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Open AccessTechnical Note A Spatio-Temporal Model for Forest Fire Detection Using HJ-IRS Satellite Data
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(5), 403; doi:10.3390/rs8050403
Received: 24 March 2016 / Revised: 27 April 2016 / Accepted: 4 May 2016 / Published: 11 May 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (11205 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fire detection based on multi-temporal remote sensing data is an active research field. However, multi-temporal detection processes are usually complicated because of the spatial and temporal variability of remote sensing imagery. This paper presents a spatio-temporal model (STM) based forest fire detection method
[...] Read more.
Fire detection based on multi-temporal remote sensing data is an active research field. However, multi-temporal detection processes are usually complicated because of the spatial and temporal variability of remote sensing imagery. This paper presents a spatio-temporal model (STM) based forest fire detection method that uses multiple images of the inspected scene. In STM, the strong correlation between an inspected pixel and its neighboring pixels is considered, which can mitigate adverse impacts of spatial heterogeneity on background intensity predictions. The integration of spatial contextual information and temporal information makes it a more robust model for anomaly detection. The proposed algorithm was applied to a forest fire in 2009 in the Yinanhe forest, Heilongjiang province, China, using two-month HJ-1B infrared camera sensor (IRS) images. A comparison of detection results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm described in this paper are useful to represent the spatio-temporal information contained in multi-temporal remotely sensed data, and the STM detection method can be used to obtain a higher detection accuracy than the optimized contextual algorithm. Full article
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