Special Issue "Quantifying the Environmental Impact of Forest Fires"


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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2014

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Ioannis Gitas
Laboratory of Forest Management and Remote Sensing, School of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Website: http://fmrs.web.auth.gr/
E-Mail: igitas@for.auth.gr
Phone: +30 2310 992699
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. Kevin Tansey
Department of Geography, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK
E-Mail: kjt7@le.ac.uk
Phone: +0116 252 3859
Fax: +0116 252 3854
Interests: analysis and exploitation of Earth Observation data to investigate the spatial distribution and magnitude of vegetation disturbance (specifically fire, deforestation, degredation and drainage) at a range of spatial scales using existing and new SAR, LiDAR and optical remote sensing data; mapping vegetation fires at the global scale

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since the initiation of the Landsat program (1972), several projects have been conducted to test the potential efficacy and reliability of satellite data in collecting information related to post-fire management. Consequently, there is a considerable amount of literature on the location and mapping of the area affected by fire at different scales ranging from local to global.

However, during the last decade, 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:

  • an increase in the number of sensors with different characteristics suitable for studying aspects of fire, some of which have been designed specifically for fire monitoring;
  • improvement of our understanding of the role of fire in ecosystems functioning;
  • progress in computer technology (hardware, software);
  • development of new advanced digital image analysis techniques; and
  • the improved access to and availability of satellite data and derived products.

As a result, currently, remotely sensed data are used regularly and even operationally to detect fire scars. Moreover, such data are now being used more and more to make observations of landscapes before and after fire and also to characterise the impact of multi-frequency fire disturbance events. Also, satellite data is being used as input into hydrological models to indicate periods of time when a fire disturbed area is flooded. Furthermore, there is integration of these satellite observations into dynamic vegetation models and atmospheric emission models (GFEDv4).

Although optical satellite data are leading the way, there is a growing interest in radar satellites providing information in particularly cloudy regions of the world.

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 identified by climate modellers as an Essential Climate Variable. Forest disturbance and the associated carbon flux needs to be measured and reported under the United Nations REDD+programme. Furthermore, we have been very good at understanding the short term impacts of fire on forests, but less good at understanding the response of vegetation under different fire frequency and severity scenarios.

The European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories (EARSeL)’s Special Interest Group (SIG) on Forest Fires was created in 1995, following the initiative of several researchers studying fires in Mediterranean Europe. It has promoted eight technical meetings and several specialized publications since then, and represents one of the most active groups within the EARSeL. The SIG has tried to foster interaction among scientists and managers who are interested in using remote sensing data and techniques to improve the traditional methods of fire risk estimation and the assessment of fire effects.

The 9th International Workshop of the group, will take place in Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire on 15-17 October 2013. The workshop is organised by the University of Leicester in collaboration with the Laboratory of Forest Management and Remote Sensing, School of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

The workshop will draw out the state of the art research being undertaken to identify and quantify these impacts.

More specifically, the workshop and the proposed special issue aim to focus on quantifying the environmental impact of fire at a number of scales and will provide a set of papers that will be of great reference for many users of satellite-derived fire products. We invite you to submit articles on the following topics:

  • Characterising the impact of fire severity and fire frequency across vegetation type
  • Validation methods for burned area mapping
  • Monitoring and modelling vegetation recovery after fire disturbance
  • Scaling from regional to global burned area maps
  • Mapping forest fires for REDD+ MRV
  • Using active fire mapping and fire radiative energy to inform on fire severity and impact

Dr. Ioannis Gitas
Dr. Kevin Tansey
Guest Editors


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. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as 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 refereed through a 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 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Published Papers (6 papers)

Remote Sens. 2014, 6(3), 2050-2068; doi:10.3390/rs6032050
Received: 22 October 2013; in revised form: 14 February 2014 / Accepted: 27 February 2014 / Published: 6 March 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | Download PDF Full-text (826 KB)

Remote Sens. 2014, 6(3), 1954-1972; doi:10.3390/rs6031954
Received: 31 December 2013; in revised form: 30 January 2014 / Accepted: 24 February 2014 / Published: 4 March 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | Download PDF Full-text (1124 KB)

Remote Sens. 2014, 6(3), 1827-1844; doi:10.3390/rs6031827
Received: 8 January 2014; in revised form: 17 February 2014 / Accepted: 24 February 2014 / Published: 27 February 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | Download PDF Full-text (1799 KB)
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Remote Sens. 2014, 6(3), 1803-1826; doi:10.3390/rs6031803
Received: 29 December 2013; in revised form: 8 February 2014 / Accepted: 10 February 2014 / Published: 27 February 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | Download PDF Full-text (1748 KB)

Remote Sens. 2014, 6(2), 1684-1704; doi:10.3390/rs6021684
Received: 31 December 2013; in revised form: 8 February 2014 / Accepted: 13 February 2014 / Published: 20 February 2014
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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(12), 6938-6957; doi:10.3390/rs5126938
Received: 2 November 2013; in revised form: 2 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 12 December 2013
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Last update: 2 April 2014

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