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Journal of Applied Remote Sensing • Open Access

Fire effects in the northern Chihuahuan Desert derived from Landsat-5 Thematic Mapper spectral indices
Author(s): Joseph D. White; Pamela Swint

Paper Abstract

Fire effects on desert ecosystems may be long-lasting based on ecological impact of fire in these environments which potentially is detected from multispectral sensors. To assess this, we analyzed changes in spectral characteristics from 1986 to 2010 of pixels associated with the location of fires that occurred between 1986 and 1999 in Big Bend National Park, USA, located in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. Using Landsat-5 Thematic Mapper (TM) data, we derived spectral indices including the simple ratio (SR), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), soil-adjusted vegetation index (SAVI), and normalized burn ratio (NBR) from 1989, 1999, and 2010 from the TM data and compared changes in spectral index values for sites with and without observed fire. We found that the NDVI and SAVI had significantly different values over the time for burned sites of different fire sizes. When differences of the spectral indices were calculated from each time period, time since fire was correlated with the SR and NBR indices. These results showed that large fires potentially had a persistent and long-term c13hange in vegetation cover and soil characteristics which were detected by the extraordinary long-data collection period of the Landsat-5 TM sensor.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 March 2014
PDF: 13 pages
J. Appl. Rem. Sens. 8(1) 083667 doi: 10.1117/1.JRS.8.083667
Published in: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing Volume 8, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Joseph D. White, Baylor Univ. (United States)
Pamela Swint, Baylor Univ. (United States)

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