Using Landsat data to assess fire and burn severity in the North American boreal forest region: an overview and summary of results
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): N. H.F. French; E. S. Kasischke; R. J. Hall; K. A. Murphy; D. L. Verbyla; E. E. Hoy; J. L. Allen
Publication Year: 2008

Cataloging Information

  • age classes
  • Betula
  • biomass
  • boreal forests
  • Canada
  • carbon
  • coniferous forests
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • land management
  • Landsat
  • mortality
  • nutrient cycling
  • organic matter
  • overstory
  • Picea glauca
  • Picea mariana
  • Pinus banksiana
  • Pinus contorta
  • Populus
  • post fire recovery
  • remote sensing
  • sampling
  • seed dispersal
  • soil temperature
  • succession
  • tundra
  • understory vegetation
  • vegetation surveys
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 47027
Tall Timbers Record Number: 22889
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-I
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


There has been considerable interest in the recent literature regarding the assessment of post-fire effects on forested areas within the North American boreal forest. Assessing the physical and ecological effects of fire in boreal forests has far-reaching implications for a variety of ecosystem processes -- such as post-fire forest succession -- and land management decisions. The present paper reviews past assessments and the studies presented in this special issue that have largely been based on the Composite Burn Index and differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR). Results from relating and mapping fire/burn severity within the boreal region have been variable, and are likely attributed, in part, to the wide variability in vegetation and terrain conditions that are characteristic of the region. Satellite remote sensing of post-fire effects alone without proper field calibration should be avoided. A sampling approach combining field and image values of burn condition is necessary for successful mapping of fire/burn severity. Satellite-based assessments of fire/burn severity, and in particular dNBR and related indices, need to be used judiciously and assessed for appropriateness based on the users' need. Issues unique to high latitudes also need to be considered when using satellite-derived information in the boreal forest region. © IAWF 2008. Reproduced from the International Journal of Wildland Fire (Nancy H.F. French, et al, 2008) with the kind permission of CSIRO PUBLISHING on behalf of the International Association of Wildland Fire.

Online Link(s):
French, N. H. F., E. S. Kasischke, R. J. Hall, K. A. Murphy, D. L. Verbyla, E. E. Hoy, and J. L. Allen. 2008. Using Landsat data to assess fire and burn severity in the North American boreal forest region: an overview and summary of results. International Journal of Wildland Fire, v. 17, no. 4, p. 443-462. 10.1071/.