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

Willem J.D. Van Leeuwen, Grant M. Casady, Daniel G. Neary, Susana Bautista, José Antonio Alloza, Yohay Carmel, Lea Wittenberg, Dan Malkinson, Barron J. Orr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 (200007) 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-93
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
  • Normalized Difference Vegetation Index
  • drylands
  • phenology
  • remote sensing
  • time series
  • vegetation recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Ecology


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