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

Monitoring post-wildfire vegetation response with remotely sensed time-series data in Spain, USA and Israel

Willem J. D. van Leeuwen A B H , Grant M. Casady A , Daniel G. Neary C , Susana Bautista D , José Antonio Alloza E , Yohay Carmel F , Lea Wittenberg G , Dan Malkinson G and Barron J. Orr A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Natural Resources and the Environment, Office of Arid Lands Studies, 1955 E 6th Street, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.

B School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.

C USDA Rocky Mountain Research Station, 2500 South Pine Knoll Drive, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA.

D Departamento de Ecología, Apartado 99, Universidad de Alicante, E-03080 Alicante, Spain.

E Fundación Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo, Charles Darwin, 14, E-46980 Paterna, Spain.

F Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technion, Haifa 32000, Israel.

G Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel.

H Corresponding author. Email: leeuw@ag.arizona.edu

International Journal of Wildland Fire 19(1) 75-93 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF08078
Submitted: 20 May 2008  Accepted: 22 June 2009   Published: 5 February 2010

Abstract

Due to the challenges faced by resource managers in maintaining post-fire ecosystem health, there is a need for methods to assess the ecological consequences of disturbances. This research examines an approach for assessing changes in post-fire vegetation dynamics for sites in Spain, Israel and the USA that burned in 1998, 1999 and 2002 respectively. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer satellite Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) time-series data (2000–07) are used for all sites to characterise and track the seasonal and spatial changes in vegetation response. Post-fire trends and metrics for burned areas are evaluated and compared with unburned reference sites to account for the influence of local environmental conditions. Time-series data interpretation provides insights into climatic influences on the post-fire vegetation. Although only two sites show increases in post-fire vegetation, all sites show declines in heterogeneity across the site. The evaluation of land surface phenological metrics, including the start and end of the season, the base and peak NDVI, and the integrated seasonal NDVI, show promising results, indicating trends in some measures of post-fire phenology. Results indicate that this monitoring approach, based on readily available satellite-based time-series vegetation data, provides a valuable tool for assessing post-fire vegetation response.

Additional keywords: drylands, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, phenology, remote sensing, time series, vegetation recovery.


Acknowledgements

MODIS data are distributed by the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center, located at the USA Geological Survey Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (http://LPDAAC.usgs.gov). The USDA Forest Service, Pacific South-west Research Station and the Prescott National Forest contributed site and GIS data. We thank Rosario López-Poma, Joan Llovet and Ángeles G. Mayor for their useful contributions to the field survey at the Guadalest site. We thank Dr Stuart E. Marsh for his constructive feedback and facilitating part of this research through the Arizona Remote Sensing Center. The input provided by three anonymous reviewers is very much appreciated and greatly contributed to this paper. This research was supported by a grant from the International Arid Lands Consortium (04R-02).


References


Allen CD, Savage M, Falk DA, Suckling KF, Swetnam TW, Schulke T, Stacey PB, Morgan P, Hoffman M , Klingel JT (2002) Ecological restoration of Southwestern ponderosa pine ecosystems: A broad perspective. Ecological Applications  12, 1418–1433.
CrossRef |

Aronson J, Vallejo R (2006) Challenges for the practice of ecological restoration. In ‘Restoration Ecology’. (Eds J van Andel, J Aronson) pp. 234–247. (Blackwell Publishing: Oxford, UK)

Baeza J, Raventós J, Escarré A , Vallejo VR (2003) The effect of shrub clearing on the control of the fire-prone species Ulex parviflorus. Forest Ecology and Management  186, 47–59.
CrossRef |

Barbosa HA, Huete AR , Baethgen WE (2006) A 20-year study of NDVI variability over the Northeast Region of Brazil. Journal of Arid Environments  67, 288–307.
CrossRef |

Bataineh AL, Oswald BP, Bataineh MM, Williams HM , Coble DW (2006) Changes in understory vegetation of a ponderosa pine forest in northern Arizona 30 years after a wildfire. Forest Ecology and Management  235, 283–294.
CrossRef |

Crawford JA, Wahren CHA, Kyle S , Moir WH (2001) Responses of exotic plant species to fires in Pinus ponderosa forests in northern Arizona. Journal of Vegetation Science  12, 261–268.
CrossRef |

DeBano LF, Neary DG, Ffolliott PF (1998) ‘Fire’s effects on ecosystems.’ (Wiley: New York)

Díaz-Delgado R , Pons X (2001) Spatial patterns of forest fires in Catalonia (NE of Spain) along the period 1975–1995 – Analysis of vegetation recovery after fire. Forest Ecology and Management  147, 67–74.
CrossRef |

Díaz-Delgado R, Lloret F, Pons X , Terradas J (2002) Satellite evidence of decreasing resilience in Mediterranean plant communities after recurrent wildfires. Ecology  83, 2293–2303.


FAO (1988) ‘Soil map of the world. Revised legend. Reprinted with corrections.’ (FAO: Rome)

Fernandez A, Illera P , Casanova JL (1997) Automatic mapping of surfaces affected by forest fires in Spain using AVHRR NDVI composite image data. Remote Sensing of Environment  60, 153–162.
CrossRef |

Flannigan MD, Stocks BJ , Wotton BM (2000) Climate change and forest fires. The Science of the Total Environment  262, 221–229.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Gobin A, Jones R, Kirkby M, Campling P, Govers G, Kosmas C , Gentile AR (2004) Indicators for pan-European assessment and monitoring of soil erosion by water. Environmental Science & Policy  7, 25–38.
CrossRef |

Goetz SJ, Fiske GJ , Bunn AG (2006) Using satellite time-series data sets to analyze fire disturbance and forest recovery across Canada. Remote Sensing of Environment  101, 352–365.
CrossRef |

Gotelli NJ, Ellison AM (2004) ‘A Primer of Ecological Statistics.’ (Sinauer: Sunderland, MA)

Goward SN, Tucker CJ , Dye DG (1985) North American vegetation patterns observed with the NOAA-7 advanced very high resolution radiometer. Plant Ecology  64, 3–14.
CrossRef |

Greig-Smith P (1983) ‘Quantitative Plant Ecology.’ (University of California Press: Berkeley, CA)

Herrick JE, Van Zee JW, Havstad KM, Burkett LM, Whitford WG (2005) ‘Monitoring Manual for Grassland, Shrubland and Savanna Ecosystems, USDA ARS, Jornada Experimental Range, Las Cruces, NM.’ (University of Arizona Press: Tucson, AZ)

Holl KD, Cairns JJ (2002) Monitoring ecological restoration. In ‘Handbook of Ecological Restoration’. (Eds MR Perrow, AJ Davy) pp. 413–444. (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK)

Holling CS, Gunderson LH (2002) Resilience and adaptive cycles. In ‘Panarchy, Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems’. (Eds LH Gunderson, CS Holling) pp. 25–62. (Island Press: Washington, DC)

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

CrossRef |

Idris MH, Kuraji K , Suzuki M (2005) Evaluating vegetation recovery following large-scale forest fires in Borneo and northeastern China using multi-temporal NOAA/AVHRR images. Journal of Forest Research  10, 101–111.
CrossRef |

Inbar M, Wittenberg L , Tamir M (1997) Soil erosion and forestry management after wildfire in a Mediterranean woodland, Mt Carmel, Israel. International Journal of Wildland Fire  7, 285–294.
CrossRef |

IPCC (2007) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, fourth assessment report. Climatic Change, 2007. Synthesis Report, Summary for Policymakers.

Jönsson P , Eklundh L (2002) Seasonality extraction by function fitting to time-series of satellite sensor data. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  40, 1824–1832.
CrossRef |

Jönsson P , Eklundh L (2004) TIMESAT – a program for analyzing time-series of satellite sensor data. Computers & Geosciences  30, 833–845.
CrossRef |

Justice CO, Townshend JRG, Holben BN , Tucker CJ (1985) Analysis of the phenology of global vegetation using meteorological satellite data. International Journal of Remote Sensing  6, 1271–1318.
CrossRef |

Justice CO, Vermote E, Townshend JRG, Defries R, Roy DP, Hall DK, Salomonson VV, Privette JL, Riggs G, Strahler A, Lucht W, Myneni RB, Knyazikhin Y, Running SW, Nemani RR, Zhengming W, Huete AR, van Leeuwen W, Wolfe RE, Giglio L, Muller J, Lewis P , Barnsley MJ (1998) The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS): land remote sensing for global change research. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  36, 1228–1249.
CrossRef |

Kasischke ES , French NHF (1995) Locating and estimating the areal extent of wildfires in Alaskan boreal forest using multiple-season AVHRR NDVI composite data. Remote Sensing of Environment  51, 263–275.
CrossRef |

Kasischke ES, French NHF, Harrell P, Christensen NL, Ustin SL , Barry D (1993) Monitoring of wildfires in boreal forests using large-area AVHRR NDVI composite image data. Remote Sensing of Environment  45, 61–71.
CrossRef |

Kéfi S, Rietkerk M, Alados CL, Pueyo Y, Papanastasis VP, ElAich A , de Ruiter PC (2007) Spatial vegetation patterns and imminent desertification in Mediterranean arid ecosystems. Nature  449, 213–217.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Kuemmerle T, Roder A , Hill J (2006) Separating grassland and shrub vegetation by multidate pixel-adaptive spectral mixture analysis. International Journal of Remote Sensing  27, 3251–3271.
CrossRef |

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

Loveland TR, Merchant JW, Brown JF, Ohlen DO, Reed BC, Olson P , Hutchinson J (1995) Seasonal land-cover regions of the United States. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. Association of American Geographers  85, 339–355.
CrossRef |

Malak DA , Pausas JG (2006) Fire regime and post-fire Normalized Difference Vegetation Index changes in the eastern Iberian peninsula (Mediterranean basin). International Journal of Wildland Fire  15, 407–413.
CrossRef |

Malingreau JP, Stephens G , Fellows L (1985) Remote sensing of forest fires: Kalimantan and North Borneo in 1982–83. Ambio  14, 314–321.


Mayor AG, Bautista S, Llovet J , Bellot J (2007) Post-fire hydrological and erosional responses of a Mediterranean landscape: Seven years of catchment-scale dynamics. Catena  71, 68–75.
CrossRef |

Narog MG (2008) Proceedings of the 2002 fire conference: managing fire and fuels in the remaining wildlands and open spaces of the southwestern United States. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, General Technical Report PSW-GTR-189. (Albany, CA)

Naveh Z (1973) The ecology of fire in Israel. In ‘Proceedings of the 13th Annual Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference’. (Ed. EV Komarek) pp. 131–170. (Tall Timbers Research Station: Tallahassee, FL)

Neary DG, Ryan KC (Eds) (2005) Fire effects on soil and water (revised 2008). USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. (Fort Collins, CO)

Neary DG, Ryan KC, DeBano LF (Eds) (2005) Wildland fire in ecosystems: effects of fire on soil and water. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 4. (Ogden, UT)

Passovoy AD , Fule PZ (2006) Snag and woody debris dynamics following severe wildfires in northern Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Forest Ecology and Management  223, 237–246.
CrossRef |

Pausas JG (2004) Changes in fire and climate in the eastern Iberian Peninsula (Mediterranean Basin). Climatic Change  63, 337–350.
CrossRef |

Ramsey FL, Schafer DW (1997) ‘The Statistical Sleuth: A Course in Methods of data analysis.’ (Duxbury Press: New York)

Reed BC, Brown JF, Vanderzee D, Loveland TR, Merchant JW , Ohlen DO (1994) measuring phenological variability from satellite imagery. Journal of Vegetation Science  5, 703–714.
CrossRef |

Retana J, Espelta JM, Habrouk A, Ordonez JL , de Sola-Morales F (2002) Regeneration patterns of three mediterranean pines and forest changes after a large wildfire in northeastern Spain. Ecoscience  9, 89–97.


Ricotta C, Avena GC, Olsen ER, Ramsey RD , Winn DS (1998) Monitoring the landscape stability of Mediterranean vegetation relation to fire with a fractal algorithm. International Journal of Remote Sensing  19, 871–881.
CrossRef |

Roder A, Hill J, Duguy B, Alloza JA , Vallejo R (2008) Using long time series of Landsat data to monitor fire events and post-fire dynamics and identify driving factors. A case study in the Ayora region (eastern Spain). Remote Sensing of Environment  112, 259–273.
CrossRef |

Rollins MG (2009) LANDFIRE: a nationally consistent vegetation, wildland fire, and fuel assessment. International Journal of Wildland Fire  18, 235–249.
CrossRef |

Salvador R, Valeriano J, Pons X , Díaz-Delgado R (2000) A semi-automatic methodology to detect fire scars in shrubs and evergreen forests with Landsat MSS time series. International Journal of Remote Sensing  21, 655–671.
CrossRef |

Swetnam TW , Betancourt JL (1998) Mesoscale disturbance and ecological response to decadal climatic variability in the American southwest. Journal of Climate  11, 3128–3147.
CrossRef |

Tongway D, Hindley N (2000) Assessing and monitoring desertification with soil indicators. In ‘Rangeland Desertification’. (Eds S Archer, O Arnalds) pp. 89–98. (Kluwer: Dordrecht, the Netherlands)

Trabaud L , Lepart J (1980) Diversity and stability in garrigue ecosystems after fire. Plant Ecology  43, 49–57.
CrossRef |

Tucker CJ (1979) Red and photographic infrared linear combinations for monitoring vegetation. Remote Sensing of Environment  8, 127–150.
CrossRef |

Turner MG, Romme WH , Gardner RH (1999) Prefire heterogeneity, fire severity, and early postfire plant reestablishment in subalpine forests of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. International Journal of Wildland Fire  9, 21–36.
CrossRef |

US Government (2003) Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003. H.R. 1904. Act of 108th Congress of the United States of America Congress, 7 January 2003.

van Leeuwen WJD (2008) Monitoring the effects of forest restoration treatments on post-fire vegetation recovery with MODIS multitemporal data. Sensors  8, 2017–2042.
CrossRef |

van Leeuwen WJD , Huete AR (1996) Effects of standing litter on the biophysical interpretation of plant canopies with spectral indices. Remote Sensing of Environment  55, 123–138.
CrossRef |

van Leeuwen WJD, Huete AR, Duncan J , Franklin J (1994) Radiative-transfer in shrub savanna sites in Niger – preliminary results from Hapex-Sahel. 3. Optical dynamics and vegetation index sensitivity to biomass and plant cover. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology  69, 267–288.
CrossRef |

van Leeuwen WJD, Orr BJ, Marsh SE , Herrmann SM (2006) Multi-sensor NDVI data continuity: Uncertainties and implications for vegetation monitoring applications. Remote Sensing of Environment  100, 67–81.
CrossRef |

Viedma O, Melia J, Segarra D , Garcia-Haro J (1997) Modeling rates of ecosystem recovery after fires by using landsat TM data. Remote Sensing of Environment  61, 383–398.
CrossRef |

Westerling AL, Hidalgo HG, Cayan DR , Swetnam TW (2006) Warming and earlier spring increase western US forest wildfire activity. Science  313, 940–943.
CrossRef | PubMed |

White JD, Ryan KC, Key CC , Running SW (1996) Remote sensing of forest fire severity and vegetation recovery. International Journal of Wildland Fire  6, 125–136.
CrossRef |

Wittenberg L, Malkinson D, Beeri O, Halutzy A , Tesler N (2007) Spatial and temporal patterns of vegetation recovery following sequences of forest fires in a Mediterranean landscape, Mt Carmel Israel. Catena  71, 76–83.
CrossRef |



Export Citation Cited By (49)

View Altmetrics