Detecting forest damage after a low-severity fire using remote sensing at multiple scales
Document Type: Journal
Author(s): John T.T.R. Arnett ; Nicholas C. Coops ; Lori D. Daniels ; Robert W. Falls
Publication Year: 2015

Cataloging Information

  • biomass
  • Canada
  • canopy
  • disturbance
  • fire damage
  • forest damage
  • high resolution
  • low-severity fire
  • RapidEye
  • remote sensing
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: April 19, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 57703


Remote sensing technologies are an ideal platform to examine the extent and impact of fire on the landscape. In this study we assess that capacity of the RapidEye constellation and Landsat (Thematic Mapper and Operational Land Imager to map fine-scale burn attributes for a small, low severity prescribed fire in a dry Western Canadian forest. Estimates of burn severity from field data were collated into a simple burn index and correlated with a selected suite of common spectral vegetation indices. Burn severity classes were then derived to map fire impacts and estimate consumed woody surface fuels (diameter ≥2.6 cm). All correlations between the simple burn index and vegetation indices produced significant results (p < 0.01), but varied substantially in their overall accuracy. Although the Landsat Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index provided the best regression fit (R2 = 0.56), results suggested that RapidEye provided much more spatially detailed estimates of tree damage (Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index, R2 = 0.51). Consumption estimates of woody surface fuels ranged from 3.38 ± 1.03 Mg ha−1 to 11.73 ± 1.84 Mg ha−1, across four derived severity classes with uncertainties likely a result of changing foliage moisture between the before and after fire images. While not containing spectral information in the short wave infrared, the spatial variability provided by the RapidEye imagery has potential for mapping and monitoring fine scale forest attributes, as well as the potential to resolve fire damage at the individual tree level.

Online Link(s):
Arnett, John T.T.R.; Coops, Nicholas C.; Daniels, Lori D.; Falls, Robert W. 2015. Detecting forest damage after a low-severity fire using remote sensing at multiple scales. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 35:239-246.