Use of remote sensing tools for severity analysis and greenhouse gases estimation in large forest fires. Case study of La Rufina forest fire, VI Region of L. G. B. O´Higgins, Chile

P. Vidal, A. De Santis, W. Pérez, P. Honeyman

Abstract

Wildfires destroy thousands of hectares of vegetation every year in Chile, a phenomenon that has steadily increased over time, both in terms of the number of fires and the area affected. Since 1985 until 2016 have occurred 1,476 wildfires severe in intensity (> 200 ha), that burned a total of about 1,243,407 ha of vegetation, and an average of 40,000 ha affected per year. Depending on the type and intensity of the fire, there are different levels of severity with which the fire affects the vegetation, a variation that is crucial for the estimation GEI in the event. The purpose of this research was to analyze the burn severity of Rufina wildfires occurred in 1999, in the VI Region of L. G. B. O’Higgins in Chile, south of the capital Santiago, using Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 7 ETM+ imagery, including in the analysis the estimated greenhouse gases emitted in relation to with the vegetation and burn severity. Burn severity was estimated through the Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR) and GEI with the equation proposed by IPCC in 2006, which was adjusted with the combustion efficiency coefficients proposed by De Santis et al. (2010). The results show that around 16,783 ha were affected by fires of different severity and the native forest and tree plantations were affected by high severity. The ton of GEI for each level of burn severity and type of vegetation was estimated, being carbon dioxide (CO2 ) the main GEI emitted to the atmosphere in the fire. The highest emissions occurred in the areas of grasslands and scrublands, with high severity, with values ranging between 186 and 170 t/ha respectively


Keywords

La Rufina; Landsat; dNBR; NDVI; burn severity; greenhouse gas

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References

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