Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): A. M. S. Smith; L. B. Lenilte; A. T. Hudak; P. Morgan
    Date: 2007
    Source: International Journal of Remote Sensing. 28(22): 5159-5166.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (432.29 KB)


    The Differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (deltaNBR) is widely used to map post-fire effects in North America from multispectral satellite imagery, but has not been rigorously validated across the great diversity in vegetation types. The importance of these maps to fire rehabilitation crews highlights the need for continued assessment of alternative remote sensing approaches. To meet this need, this study presents a first preliminary comparison of immediate post-fire char (black ash) fraction, as measured by linear spectral unmixing, and deltaNBR, with two quantitative one-year post-fire field measures indicative of canopy and sub-canopy conditions: % live tree and dry organic litter weight (gm22). Image analysis was applied to Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM + ) imagery acquired both before and immediately following the 2000 Jasper Fire, South Dakota. Post-fire field analysis was conducted one-year post-fire. Although the immediate post-fire char fraction (r2=0.56, SE=28.03) and dNBR (r2=0.55, SE=29.69) measures produced similarly good predictions of the % live tree, the standard error in the prediction of litter weight with the char fraction method (r2=0.55, SE=4.78) was considerably lower than with deltaNBR (r2=0.52, SE=8.01). Although further research is clearly warranted to evaluate more field measures, in more fires, and across more fire regimes, the char fraction may be a viable approach to predict longer-term indicators of ecosystem recovery and may potentially act as a surrogate retrospective measure of the fire intensity.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Smith, A. M. S.; Lenilte, L. B.; Hudak, A. T.; Morgan, P. 2007. Evaluation of linear spectral unmixing and deltaNBR for predicting post-fire recovery in a North American ponderosa pine forest. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 28(22): 5159-5166.


    linear spectral unmixing, Differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (deltaNBR), post-fire, char, Jasper Fire

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page