Control plot selection for studies of post-fire dynamics: performance of non-parametric and autoregressive routines

M. A. Landi, S. Ojeda, C. M. Di Bella, P. Salvatierra, J. P. Argañaraz, L. M. Bellis


Natural fire regimes have been modified; therefore robust post-fire monitoring tools are needed to understand the post-fire recovery process. Satellites with high temporal resolution allow us to build time series of vegetation indices for monitoring post-fire vegetation recovery. One of the techniques used is to compare the time series of a burned plot with that of an unburned control plot. However, for its implementation it is necessary to select control plots in which the vegetation has the same structure and functioning than the plot burned before the fire. Previous study defined biological criteria to detect burned and unburned control plots with identical pre-fire vegetation functioning. Moreover, a non-parametric test routine of low statistical power was proposed to test them, this was based on the analysis of the QVI (Quotient Vegetation Index), calculated between NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) time series of the burned and control site. However, currently there are autoregressive analysis techniques with greater statistical power. Therefore the aims were to propose six new statistical routines based on autoregressive test, and compare the performance of these with the non-parametric routine. We selected 13,700 forest plots and extracted the NDVI MODIS time series between 2002 and 2005. We randomly selected 43 reference plots, and through each routine, we compared each reference time series with the other 13,657 time series. We estimated the performance of the routines measuring the euclidian distance between the time series of the reference plot and the time series of the plots accepted for each routine. We also measured the quality and the amount of the QVI time series selected by each routine. Autoregressive routines showed better performance than the non-parametric routine, since they selected control plots with NDVI time series with greatest similarity with respect to the reference plots and QVI series with highest quality.


control plot selection; fire ecology; post-fire monitoring; NDVI MODIS; NDVI time series analysis

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