International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Characterisation of spatial and temporal distribution of the fire regime in Niassa National Reserve, northern Mozambique

N. S. Ribeiro A E , A. Cangela A B , A. Chauque A , R. R. Bandeira A and A. I. Ribeiro-Barros C D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Forest Engineering, Faculty of Agronomy and Forest Engineering, UEM Campus Universitario, Building # 1, PO Box 257, Maputo, Mozambique.

B Instituto Superior Politécnico de Gaza, Gaza, Mozambique.

C Plant Stress and Biodiversity Lab, LEAF- Linking Landscape, Environment, Agriculture and Food, School of Agriculture (ISA), University of Lisbon (ULisboa), Tapada da Ajuda, Ed. Ferreira Lapa, 1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal.

D GeoBioTec, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Quinta da Torre, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal.

E Corresponding author. Email: joluci2000@yahoo.com

International Journal of Wildland Fire 26(12) 1021-1029 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF17085
Submitted: 22 March 2016  Accepted: 8 September 2017   Published: 29 November 2017

Abstract

The Niassa National Reserve (NNR) is the largest conservation area of the Miombo woodlands in southern Africa, representing one of the most remote and pristine biodiversity spots. Anthropogenic fires have long been one of the main ecological drivers in these woodlands. However, the constraint in understanding fire effects results from limited data and accessibility to existing fire records. This study is intended to contribute to the understanding of fire ecology in these woodlands by assessing the fire regime in NNR. We used the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) daily active fire (MDC14ML) and burned-area (MCD45A1) products to characterise the fire regime in terms of seasonality, intensity, density, burned area, frequency and mean return interval for the period from 2000 to 2012. The results indicated that fire activity starts c. April and peaks in the late dry season (August–October). Approximately 45% of the area burns every year, especially the north-central and eastern sectors, with fire intensity displaying an inverse relationship with frequency. In conclusion, our study demonstrates the relevance of remote sensing for describing the spatial and temporal patterns of fire occurrence in the Miombo eco-region and highlights the necessity for controlling fire and managing fuels in this important conservation area.

Additional keywords: fire density, fire frequency, Miombo woodlands, MODIS active fire, MODIS burned area.


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