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Assessing the impact of emerging forest disease on wildfire using Landsat and KOMPSAT-2 dataAuthor(s): Gang Chen; Yinan He; Angela De Santis; Guosheng Li; Richard Cobb; Ross K. Meentemeyer
Source: Remote Sensing of Environment. 195: 218-229
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
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DescriptionEnvironmental disturbance regimes are more frequently being altered by historically novel events and disturbance interactions, which may trigger reorganizations of new ecosystem states and processes. Here we examine synergies between emerging forest disease and wildfire to determine whether disease outbreak changes environmental drivers of burn severity using sudden oak death and the basin complex fire in California as a case study of novel disturbance interaction. We mapped the spatial distribution of sudden oak death tree mortality using a new object-based filter with 1.0 m resolution KOMPSAT-2 images. We integrated these data with a physical simulation model of burn severity informed by post-fire Landsat data. Model performance varied across stages of disease establishment (early, middle and late) with stronger relationships occurring during later stages of disease progression. Multiscale statistical analysis of environmental drivers of burn severity in diseased compared to healthy forests showed that sudden oak death tree mortality altered relationships between burn severity and the biophysical environment. Specifically, compared to the healthy forests, those affected by disease exhibited higher landscape heterogeneity at smaller spatial scales (e.g., 25 and 50 m), which has been associated with decreased burn severity in the literature. Our results showed the opposite pattern. That is, a disease-affected landscape comprising less connected patches and higher patch shape complexity was more likely to experience greater burn severity. This suggests that disease-caused increases in surface fuels may have reduced the landscape's resistance to fire and in turn increased burn severity in forest patches neighboring disease-impacted forests.
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CitationChen, Gang; He, Yinan; De Santis, Angela; Li, Guosheng; Cobb, Richard; Meentemeyer, Ross K. 2017. Assessing the impact of emerging forest disease on wildfire using Landsat and KOMPSAT-2 data. Remote Sensing of Environment. 195: 218-229. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2017.04.005.
KeywordsForest disease, Burn severity, Object-based filter, Landsat, KOMPSAT-2, Interacting disturbances
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