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

Remote sensing for prediction of 1-year post-fire ecosystem condition

Leigh B. Lentile A D , Alistair M. S. Smith B , Andrew T. Hudak C , Penelope Morgan B , Michael J. Bobbitt B , Sarah A. Lewis C and Peter R. Robichaud C

A Department of Forestry and Geology, University of the South, Sewanee, TN 37383, USA.

B Department of Forest Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-1133, USA.

C Rocky Mountain Research Station, US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Moscow, ID 83843, USA.

D Corresponding author. Email: lblentil@sewanee.edu

International Journal of Wildland Fire 18(5) 594-608 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF07091
Submitted: 12 July 2007  Accepted: 21 August 2008   Published: 10 August 2009

Abstract

Appropriate use of satellite data in predicting >1year post-fire effects requires remote measurement of surface properties that can be mechanistically related to ground measures of post-fire condition. The present study of burned ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests in the Black Hills of South Dakota evaluates whether immediate fractional cover estimates of char, green vegetation and brown (non-photosynthetic) vegetation within a pixel are improved predictors of 1-year post-fire field measures, when compared with single-date and differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR and dNBR) indices. The modeled estimate of immediate char fraction either equaled or outperformed all other immediate metrics in predicting 1-year post-fire effects. Brown cover fraction was a poor predictor of all effects (r2 < 0.30), and each remote measure produced only poor predictions of crown scorch (r2 < 0.20). Application of dNBR (1 year post) provided a considerable increase in regression performance for predicting tree survival. Immediate post-fire NBR or dNBR produced only marginal differences in predictions of all the 1-year post-fire effects, perhaps limiting the need for prefire imagery. Although further research is clearly warranted to evaluate fire effects data available 2–20 years after fire, char and green vegetation fractions may be viable alternatives to dNBR and similar indices to predict longer-term post-fire ecological effects.

Additional keywords: burn severity, char, Landsat ETM+, ponderosa pine, subpixel, unmixing.


Acknowledgements

The present fieldwork component of the current study was funded by the Black Hills National Forest through In-Service Agreement No. 0203–01–007, Monitoring Fire Effects and Vegetation Recovery on the Jasper Fire, Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota to Rocky Mountain Research Station and Colorado State University. The subsequent research was supported in part by funds provided by the Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture (03-JV-11222065–279) and the USDA/USDI Joint Fire Science Program (Projects 03–2-1–02 and 05–4-1–07). Partial support for Smith was obtained from the NSF Idaho EPSCoR Program and by the National Science Foundation under award number EPS-0814387. We thank the Associate Editor, Mark Cochrane and the other anonymous reviewer whose comments greatly improved the present manuscript.


References


Atkinson PM, Cutler MEJ , Lewis H (1997) Mapping sub-pixel proportional land cover with AVHRR imagery. International Journal of Remote Sensing  18, 917–935.
CrossRef |

Bobbe T, Finco MV, Quayle B, Lannom K, Sohlberg R, Parsons A (2003) Field measurements for the training and validation of burn severity maps from spaceborne, remotely sensed imagery. USDI Joint Fire Science Program, Final Project Report JFSP RFP 2001–2. (Boise, ID)

Borel CC , Gerstl SAW (1994) Non-linear spectral mixing models for vegetative and soil surfaces. Remote Sensing of Environment  47, 403–416.
CrossRef |

Brewer CK, Winne JC, Redmond RL, Opitz DW , Magrich MV (2005) Classifying and mapping wildfire severity: a comparison of methods. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing  71(11), 1311–1320.


Brown JK, Smith JK (Eds) (2000) Wildland fire in ecosystems: effects of fire on flora. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-42. (Ogden, UT)

Chen X, Vierling L, Rowell E , DeFelice T (2004) Using Lidar and effective LAI to evaluate IKONOS and Landsat 7 ETM+ vegetation estimates in a ponderosa pine forest. Remote Sensing of Environment  91, 14–26.
CrossRef |

Clark RN , Lucey PG (1984) Spectral properties of ice–particulate mixtures and implications for remote sensing 1. Intimate mixtures. Journal of Geophysical Research  89(B7), 6341–6348.
CrossRef | CAS |

Cochrane MA , Souza CM (1998) Linear mixture model classification of burned forests in the Eastern Amazon. International Journal of Remote Sensing  19(17), 3433–3440.
CrossRef |

Cocke AE, Fulé PZ , Crouse JE (2005) Comparison of burn severity assessments using differenced Normalized Burn Ratio and ground data. International Journal of Wildland Fire  14(2), 189–198.
CrossRef |

Cracknell AP (1998) Synergy in remote sensing – what’s in a pixel? International Journal of Remote Sensing  19(11), 2025–2047.
CrossRef |

Crockford RH , Richardson DP (2000) Partitioning of rainfall into throughfall, stemflow and interception: effect of forest type, ground cover and climate. Hydrological Processes  14, 2903–2920.
CrossRef |

De Santis A , Chuvieco E (2007) Burn severity estimation from remotely sensed data: performance of simulation versus empirical models. Remote Sensing of Environment  108, 422–435.
CrossRef |

Doerr SH , Cerda A (2005) Fire effects on soil system functioning: new insights and future challenges. International Journal of Wildland Fire  14, 339–342.
CrossRef |

Dozier J, Strahler AH (1983) Ground investigations in support of remote sensing. In ‘Manual of Remote Sensing’. (Eds RN Colwell, DS Simonett, GA Thorley) pp. 959–986. (American Society of Photogrammetry: Falls Church, VA)

Drake NA, Mackin S , Settle JJ (1999) Mapping vegetation, soils, and geology in semiarid shrublands using spectral matching and mixture modeling of SWIR AVIRIS imagery. Remote Sensing of Environment  68, 12–25.
CrossRef |

Drake NA, White K (1991) Linear mixture modelling of Landsat Thematic Mapper data for mapping the distribution and abundance of gypsum in the Tunisian Southern Atlas. In ‘Spatial Data 2000: Proceedings of a Joint Conference of the Photogrammetric Society, the Remote Sensing Society, the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing’, Christ Church, Oxford. (Ed. I Dowman) pp. 168–177. (Remote Sensing Society: Nottingham, UK)

Elvidge CD (1990) Visible and near-infrared reflectance characteristics of dry plant materials. International Journal of Remote Sensing  11, 1775–1795.
CrossRef |

Epting J, Verbyla D , Sorbel B (2005) Evaluation of remotely sensed indices for assessing burn severity in interior Alaska using Landsat TM and ETM+. Remote Sensing of Environment  96(3–4), 328–339.
CrossRef |

Eva H , Lambin EF (1998a) Burnt area mapping in Central Africa using ATSR data. International Journal of Remote Sensing  19(18), 3473–3497.
CrossRef |

Eva H , Lambin EF (1998b) Remote sensing of biomass burning in tropical regions: sampling issues and multisensor approach. Remote Sensing of Environment  64, 292–315.
CrossRef |

Foody GM, Lucas RM, Curran PJ , Honzak M (1997) Non-linear mixture modelling without end-members using an artificial neural network. International Journal of Remote Sensing  18(4), 937–953.
CrossRef |

Foody GM (2000) Estimation of sub-pixel land cover composition in the presence of untrained classes. Computers & Geosciences  26(4), 469–478.
CrossRef |

Goforth BR, Graham RC, Hubbert KR, Zanner CW , Minnich RA (2005) Spatial distribution and properties of ash and thermally altered soils after high-severity forest fire, southern California. International Journal of Wildland Fire  14, 343–354.
CrossRef |

Holden Z, Smith AMS, Morgan P, Rollins MG , Gessler PE (2005) Evaluation of novel thermally enhanced spectral indices for mapping fire perimeters and comparisons with fire atlas data. International Journal of Remote Sensing  26(21), 4801–4808.
CrossRef |

Hudak AT, Morgan P, Bobbitt M, Lentile L (2007a) Characterizing stand-replacing harvest and fire disturbance patches in a forested landscape: a case study from Cooney Ridge, Montana. In ‘Understanding Forest Disturbance and Spatial Patterns: Remote Sensing and GIS Approaches’. (Eds MA Wulder, SE Franklin) pp. 209–231. (Taylor & Francis: London)

Hudak AT, Morgan P, Bobbitt MJ, Smith AMS, Lewis SA, Lentile LB, Robichaud PR, Clark JT , McKinley RA (2007b) The relationship of multispectral satellite imagery to immediate fire effects. Fire Ecology  3, 64–90.


Huete AR , Escadafal R (1991) Assessment of biophysical soil properties through spectral decomposition techniques. Remote Sensing of Environment  35, 149–159.
CrossRef |

Key CH (2006) Ecological and sampling constraints on defining landscape fire severity. Fire Ecology  2(2), 178–203.


Key CH, Benson NC (2006) Landscape assessment: ground measure of severity, the Composite Burn Index; and remote sensing of severity, the Normalized Burn Ratio. In ‘FIREMON: Fire Effects Monitoring and Inventory System’. (Eds DC Lutes, RE Keane, JF Caratti, CH Key, NC Benson, S Sutherland, LJ Gangi) USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-164-CD, pp. LA1–51. (Ogden, UT)

Keyser TL (2007) Changes in forest structure, community composition, and development in ponderosa pine forests following a mixed-severity wildfire in the Black Hills, SD, USA. PhD thesis, Colorado State University.

Keyser TL, Smith FW, Lentile LB , Shepperd WD (2006) Modeling post-fire mortality of ponderosa pine following a mixed-severity wildfire in the Black Hills: the role of tree morphology and direct fire effects. Forest Science  52, 530–539.


Keyser TL, Smith FW , Shepperd WD (2005) Trembling aspen response to a mixed-severity wildfire in the Black Hills, South Dakota, USA. Canadian Journal of Forest Research  35, 2679–2684.
CrossRef |

Landmann T (2003) Characterizing sub-pixel Landsat ETM+ fire severity on experimental fires in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. South African Journal of Science  99, 357–360.


Lawrence RL , Ripple WJ (1998) Comparisons among vegetation indices and bandwise regression in a highly disturbed, heterogeneous landscape: Mount St Helens, Washington. Remote Sensing of Environment  64, 91–102.
CrossRef |

Lentile LB (2004) Causal factors and consequences of mixed-severity fire in Black Hills ponderosa pine forests. PhD Thesis, Colorado State University.

Lentile LB, Smith FW , Shepperd WD (2005) Patch structure, fire-scar formation and tree regeneration in a large mixed-severity fire in the South Dakota Black Hills, USA. Canadian Journal of Forest Research  35, 2875–2885.
CrossRef |

Lentile LB, Smith FW , Shepperd WD (2006a) The influence of topography and forest structure on patterns of mixed-severity fire in the South Dakota Black Hills. International Journal of Wildland Fire  15(4), 557–566.
CrossRef |

Lentile LB, Holden ZA, Smith AMS, Falkowski MJ, Hudak AT, Morgan P, Lewis SA, Gessler PE , Benson NC (2006b) Remote sensing techniques to assess active fire and post-fire effects. International Journal of Wildland Fire  15, 319–345.
CrossRef |

Lentile LB, Morgan P, Hardy C, Hudak A, Means R, Ottmar RD, Robichaud PR, Sutherland EK, et al. (2007a) Value and challenges of conducting rapid response on wildland fires. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-193. (Fort Collins, CO)

Lentile LB, Morgan P, Hudak AT, Bobbitt MJ, Lewis SA, Smith AMS , Robichaud PR (2007b) Post-fire burn severity and vegetation response following eight large wildfires across the western US. Fire Ecology  3, 91–108.


Lewis SA, Wu JQ , Robichaud PR (2006) Assessing burn severity and comparing soil water repellency, Hayman Fire, Colorado. Hydrological Processes  20, 1–16.
CrossRef |

Lewis SA, Lentile LB, Hudak AT, Robichaud PR, Morgan P , Bobbitt MJ (2007) Mapping ground cover using hyperspectral remote sensing after the 2003 Simi and Old wildfires in Southern California. Fire Ecology  3, 109–128.


Litton CM, Ryan MG, Knight DH , Stahl PD (2003) Soil–surface carbon dioxide efflux and microbial biomass in relation to tree density 12 years after a stand-replacing fire in a lodgepole pine ecosystem. Global Change Biology  9, 680–696.
CrossRef |

López-García MJ , Caselles V (1991) Mapping burns and natural reforestation using Thematic Mapper data. Geocarto International  6, 31–37.
CrossRef |

Miller JD , Thode AE (2007) Quantifying burn severity in a heterogeneous landscape with a relative version of the delta Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR). Remote Sensing of Environment  109, 66–80.
CrossRef |

Miller JD , Yool SR (2002) Mapping forest post-fire canopy consumption in several overstory types using multi-temporal Landsat TM and ETM data. Remote Sensing of Environment  82, 481–496.
CrossRef |

Morgan P, Hardy CC, Swetnam T, Rollins MG , Long LG (2001) Mapping fire regimes across time and space: understanding coarse and fine-scale fire patterns. International Journal of Wildland Fire  10, 329–342.
CrossRef |

Nagler PL, Daughtry CST , Goward SN (2000) Plant litter and soil reflectance. Remote Sensing of Environment  71, 207–215.
CrossRef |

Odion DC , Hanson CT (2006) Fire severity in conifer forests of the Sierra Nevada, California. Ecosystems  9, 1177–1189.
CrossRef |

Odion DC , Hanson CT (2007) Fire severity in the Sierra Nevada revisited: conclusions robust to further analysis. Ecosystems  11, 12–15.
CrossRef |

Pannkuk CK , Robichaud PR (2003) Effectiveness of needle cast at reducing erosion after forest fires. Water Resources Research  39, 1333–1343.
CrossRef |

Patterson MW , Yool SR (1998) Mapping fire-induced vegetation mortality using Landsat Thematic Mapper data: a comparison of linear transformation techniques. Remote Sensing of Environment  65, 132–142.
CrossRef |

Pereira JMC (1999) A comparative evaluation of NOAA/AVHRR vegetation indexes for burned surface detection and mapping. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  37(1), 217–226.
CrossRef |

Qin W , Gerstl SAW (2000) 3-D scene modelling of semi-arid vegetation cover and its radiation regime. Remote Sensing of Environment  74, 145–162.
CrossRef |

Robichaud PR (2004) Post-fire rehabilitation: are we learning what works? Southwest Hydrology  3, 20–21.


Robichaud PR, Brown RE (2000) What happened after the smoke cleared: onsite erosion rates after a wildfire in Eastern Oregon. In ‘Proceedings of the Wildland Hydrology Conference’, 20 June–2 July 1999, Bozeman, MT. (Eds DS Olsen, JP Potyondy) pp. 419–426. (American Water Resource Association: Herndon, VA)

Robichaud PR, Lewis SA, Laes DYM, Hudak AT, Kokaly RF , Zamudio JA (2007) Post-fire soil burn severity mapping with hyperspectral image unmixing. Remote Sensing of Environment  108, 467–480.
CrossRef |

Roy DP, Boschetti L , Trigg SN (2006) Remote sensing of fire severity: assessing the performance of the normalized burn ratio. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters  3(1), 112–116.
CrossRef |

Ryan KC, Noste NV (1985) Evaluating prescribed fires. In ‘Proceedings of the Symposium and Workshop on Wilderness Fire’, 15–18 November 1983, Missoula, MT. (Eds JE Lotan, BM Kilgore, WC Fischer, RW Mutch) USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, General Technical Report INT-GTR-182, pp. 230–238. (Ogden, UT)

Safford HD, Miller JD, Schmidt D, Roath B , Parsons A (2007) BAER soil burn severity maps do not measure fire effects to vegetation: a comment on Odion and Hanson (2006). Ecosystems  11, 1–11.
CrossRef |

Settle JJ , Drake NA (1993) Linear mixing and the estimation of ground cover proportions. International Journal of Remote Sensing  14(6), 1159–1177.
CrossRef |

Shepperd WD, Battaglia MA (2002) Ecology, silviculture, and management of Black Hills ponderosa pine. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RMRS-97. (Fort Collins, CO)

Smith AMS , Hudak AT (2005) Estimating combustion of large downed woody debris from residual white ash. International Journal of Wildland Fire  14, 245–248.
CrossRef |

Smith AMS, Wooster MJ, Drake NA, Dipotso FM, Falkowski MJ , Hudak AT (2005) Testing the potential of multi-spectral remote sensing for retrospectively estimating fire severity in African savannahs environments. Remote Sensing of Environment  97(1), 92–115.
CrossRef |

Smith AMS, Drake NA, Wooster MJ, Hudak AT, Holden ZA , Gibbons CJ (2007a) Production of Landsat ETM+ reference imagery of burned areas within Southern African savannahs: comparison of methods and application to MODIS. International Journal of Remote Sensing  28, 2753–2775.
CrossRef |

Smith AMS, Lentile LB, Hudak AT , Morgan P (2007b) Evaluation of linear spectral unmixing and ΔNBR for predicting post-fire recovery in a N. American ponderosa pine forest. International Journal of Remote Sensing  28, 5159–5166.
CrossRef |

Stroppiana D, Pinnock S, Pereira JMC , Gregoire JM (2002) Radiometric analysis of SPOT-VEGETATION images for burnt area detection in Northern Australia. Remote Sensing of Environment  82, 21–37.
CrossRef |

Theseira MA, Thomas G , Sannier CAD (2002) An evaluation of spectral mixture modeling applied to a semi-arid environment. International Journal of Remote Sensing  23, 687–700.
CrossRef |

Theseira MA, Thomas G, Taylor JC, Gemmell F , Varjo J (2003) Sensitivity of mixture modelling to end-member selection. International Journal of Remote Sensing  24(7), 1559–1575.
CrossRef |

Townshend JGR, Huang C, Kalluri SNV, Defries RS , Liang D (2000) Beware of per-pixel characterization of land cover. International Journal of Remote Sensing  21(4), 839–843.
CrossRef |

Trumbore S (2006) Carbon respired by terrestrial ecosystems – recent progress and challenges. Global Change Biology  12(2), 141–153.
CrossRef |

Vafeidis AT , Drake NA (2005) A two-step method for estimating the extent of burnt areas with the use of coarse-resolution data. International Journal of Remote Sensing  26(11), 2441–2459.
CrossRef |

Verstraete MM , Pinty B (1996) Designing optimal spectral indices for remote sensing applications. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  34(5), 1254–1265.
CrossRef |

van Wagtendonk JW, Root RR , Key CH (2004) Comparison of AVIRIS and Landsat ETM+ detection capabilities for burn severity. Remote Sensing of Environment  92, 397–408.
CrossRef |

Wessman CA, Bateson CA , Benning TL (1997) Detecting fire and grazing patterns in tallgrass prairie using spectral mixture analysis. Ecological Applications  7(2), 493–511.
CrossRef |

Wimberly MC , Reilly MJ (2007) Assessment of fire severity and species diversity in the southern Appalachians using Landsat TM and ETM+ imagery. Remote Sensing of Environment  108, 189–197.
CrossRef |




* Leigh B. Lentile and Alistair M. S. Smith contributed equally to the present paper.


Export Citation Cited By (33)