Contrasting Post-Fire Dynamics between Africa and South America based on MODIS...

Zhou, L., Y. Wang, Y. Chi, S. Wang, and Q. Wang (2019), Contrasting Post-Fire Dynamics between Africa and South America based on MODIS Observations, doi:10.3390/rs11091074.

Fire is an important driver of land cover change throughout the world, affecting processes such as deforestation, forest recovery and vegetation transition. Little attention has been given to the role of fire in shaping the temporal and spatial land cover changes among continents. This study has integrated two MODIS products (MCD64A1: Burned area and MCD12Q1: Land cover) over Africa and South America from 2001–2013 to explore the vegetation dynamics after fires. The results indicated that while Africa suffered from repeated fires, more than 50% of the total burned area in South America experienced only one fire. The vegetation dynamics of the high-density vegetated regions in the 10 years after a fire showed that the forest losses in the first year after a fire in Africa were slightly larger than that in South America (Africa: 17.2% vs. South America: 14.5% in the Northern Hemisphere). The continental comparison suggested that early successional forests in Africa recovered relatively fast (northern part: 10.2 years; southern part: 12.8 years) than in South America, which recovered (18.4 years) slowly in Northern Hemisphere or ever with no recovery in the Southern Hemisphere. No clear information of the recoveries of other vegetation types (i.e., shrub, grass and crop) in Africa or South America could be identified from the satellite data. In addition, we also analyzed the changes of high-density vegetation in non-burned regions in both continents. These findings highlighted the impact of the fire regime on the vegetation changes in Africa, which appear resilient to fire, but there were complex systems in South America related to fires.

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Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)