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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 22(6)

Changes in the spectral features of fuel layers of an Australian dry sclerophyll forest in response to prescribed burning

V. Gupta A B , K. Reinke A and S. Jones A

A Remote Sensing Centre, School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences, RMIT University GPO Box 2476V, Melbourne, Vic. 3001, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: vaibhav.gupta@rmit.edu.au

International Journal of Wildland Fire 22(6) 862-868 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF12211
Submitted: 17 May 2012  Accepted: 15 February 2013   Published: 13 August 2013


 
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Abstract

Prescribed burning is a landscape management tool often used for asset protection and ecological maintenance. Accordingly, there is a need to understand the effects fire has on the landscape and how these changes might be measured. Remote sensing pre- and post-burn has the potential to inform decisions about burn severity and ecosystem sensitivity to fire. The aim of this research was to identify changes in the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) following a prescribed burn in the fuel layers of an Australian dry sclerophyll forest using a hyperspectral radiometer (HSR). Results indicated three major changes in spectral features (1) absence of the green reflectance peak (550 nm), (2) flattening or absence of red edge (680–750 nm) and (3) disappearance of water absorption feature (970 nm). The greatest difference in the intensity and shape of spectral signatures from pre-burn levels for all the targets occurred within the first 2 weeks post-burn. The trend of a return to the pre-burn spectral signature was seen to occur from week 5 onwards for most targets. These findings have important implications for identifying suitable remote sensing parameters for monitoring the effects of fire on vegetation.



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