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Forests 2018, 9(6), 305;

Deforestation-Induced Fragmentation Increases Forest Fire Occurrence in Central Brazilian Amazonia

Tropical Ecosystems and Environmental Sciences Laboratory (TREES), Remote Sensing Division, National Institute for Space Research-INPE, São José dos Campos 12227-010, SP, Brazil
College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4RJ, UK
National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters-CEMADEN, São José dos Campos 12247-016, SP, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 25 April 2018 / Accepted: 1 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildland Fire, Forest Dynamics, and Their Interactions)
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Amazonia is home to more than half of the world’s remaining tropical forests, playing a key role as reservoirs of carbon and biodiversity. However, whether at a slower or faster pace, continued deforestation causes forest fragmentation in this region. Thus, understanding the relationship between forest fragmentation and fire incidence and intensity in this region is critical. Here, we use MODIS Active Fire Product (MCD14ML, Collection 6) as a proxy of forest fire incidence and intensity (measured as Fire Radiative Power—FRP), and the Brazilian official Land-use and Land-cover Map to understand the relationship among deforestation, fragmentation, and forest fire on a deforestation frontier in the Brazilian Amazonia. Our results showed that forest fire incidence and intensity vary with levels of habitat loss and forest fragmentation. About 95% of active fires and the most intense ones (FRP > 500 megawatts) were found in the first kilometre from the edges in forest areas. Changes made in 2012 in the Brazilian main law regulating the conservation of forests within private properties reduced the obligation to recover illegally deforested areas, thus allowing for the maintenance of fragmented areas in the Brazilian Amazonia. Our results reinforce the need to guarantee low levels of fragmentation in the Brazilian Amazonia in order to avoid the degradation of its forests by fire and the related carbon emissions. View Full-Text
Keywords: remote sensing; MODIS; Amazonian forests; Brazilian Forest Code; edge effects remote sensing; MODIS; Amazonian forests; Brazilian Forest Code; edge effects

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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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Silva Junior, C.H.L.; Aragão, L.E.O.C.; Fonseca, M.G.; Almeida, C.T.; Vedovato, L.B.; Anderson, L.O. Deforestation-Induced Fragmentation Increases Forest Fire Occurrence in Central Brazilian Amazonia. Forests 2018, 9, 305.

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