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The potential of SPOT-Vegetation data for fire scar detection in boreal forests

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Boreal forests cover 10% of the land surface and experience wide ranges of temperature and precipitation. In many parts of the boreal zone, fire drives vegetation succession, landscape dynamics and carbon cycling. Global climate change may affect the frequency and size of wildfires and alter the rate of carbon release into the atmosphere. Monitoring changes in fire frequency are therefore vital for forest management and predicting climate change impacts. The continuity of remotely sensed data, combined with the extent and remoteness of the boreal ecosystem make Earth observation an important tool for fire monitoring. This Letter examines the applicability of data from SPOT-Vegetation for regional fire monitoring in the context of other available Earth observation instruments. We show that use of the middle-infrared waveband gives a more reliable indication of fire scars than vegetation index approaches currently employed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 1998

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