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High-resolution multispectral satellite image and a postfire ground survey reveal prefire beetle damage on snags in Southern Alaska

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Alaskan spruce forests are exposed to both fire and spruce beetles [Dendroctonus rufipennis (Kirby)]. To understand the influence of spruce beetles on the process through which fire affects ecosystem function, we developed a reconstruction technique to measure prefire damage to trees caused by the spruce beetle. We validated our evaluation of prefire tree conditions using a high-resolution multispectral satellite image by comparing our results with a postfire ground survey. The prefire tree conditions determined by the two methods coincided well with each other. This result suggests that combining high-resolution multispectral imaging and postfire ground surveys of spruce beetles on snags is a powerful tool to determine the prefire condition of a forest in a changing boreal forest ecosystem.

Keywords: Climate change; black carbon; combination of disturbances; remote sensing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Climate Impact Research Centre, Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Abisko, Sweden 2: Division of Environmental Resources, Research Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan 3: The University of Tokyo Chichibu Forest, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Chichibu, Japan

Publication date: September 1, 2013

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