Monitoring the effects of forest restoration treatments on post-fire vegetation recovery with MODIS multitemporal data

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116 Scopus citations


This study examines how satellite based time-series vegetation greenness data and phenological measurements can be used to monitor and quantify vegetation recovery after wildfire disturbances and examine how pre-fire fuel reduction restoration treatments impact fire severity and impact vegetation recovery trajectories. Pairs of wildfire affected sites and a nearby unburned reference site were chosen to measure the post-disturbance recovery in relation to climate variation. All site pairs were chosen in forested uplands in Arizona and were restricted to the area of the Rodeo-Chediski fire that occurred in 2002. Fuel reduction treatments were performed in 1999 and 2001. The inter-annual and seasonal vegetation dynamics before, during, and after wildfire events can be monitored using a time series of biweekly composited MODIS NDVI (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer - Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) data. Time series analysis methods included difference metrics, smoothing filters, and fitting functions that were applied to extract seasonal and inter-annual change and phenological metrics from the NDVI time series data from 2000 to 2007. Pre- and post-fire Landsat data were used to compute the Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) and examine burn severity at the selected sites. The phenological metrics (pheno-metrics) included the timing and greenness (i.e. NDVI) for the start, peak and end of the growing season as well as proxy measures for the rate of green-up and senescence and the annual vegetation productivity. Pre-fire fuel reduction treatments resulted in lower fire severity, which reduced annual productivity much less than untreated areas within the Rodeo-Chediski fire perimeter. The seasonal metrics were shown to be useful for estimating the rate of post-fire disturbance recovery and the timing of phenological greenness phases. The use of satellite time series NDVI data and derived pheno-metrics show potential for tracking vegetation cover dynamics and successional changes in response to drought, wildfire disturbances, and forest restoration treatments in fire-suppressed forests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2017-2042
Number of pages26
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Fire severity
  • Fuel reduction treatments
  • Phenology
  • Vegetation recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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