Title: Monitoring and Assessing Fire Impacts and Land-cover Change in Tropical and Subtropical Ecosystems Using Satellite Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques
Authors: CLERICI Nicola
Publication Year: 2006
JRC Publication N°: JRC33036
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC33036
Type: PhD Theses
Abstract: The investigation of fires has been one of the most important topics in the scientific community in the last 25 years. Biomass burning has in fact a critical importance for global biogeochemical cycles and for its interactions with the natural environment at all its hierarchical levels of organization. The scientific community calls for a better understanding of fires distribution and on its role as fundamental agent accompanying natural and anthropogenic processes of modification of the land environment, such as natural habitat conversion and landscape fragmentation. In the present dissertation, after reviewing the main effects of fires on the environment, we proposed some methodologies to monitor and analyse fires at three different environmental scales (sub-continental, landscape, and ecosystem); we aim to emphasize the interrelationships between fires characteristics and land-cover, and investigate the role of biomass burning in accompanying the processes of modification of landscapes and ecosystems. More specifically we: 1. Propose a methodology to synthetically represent fires spatial and temporal characteristics (fire regime) using satellite active fires data, proving the connections between fire regimes and land-cover types. 3. Demonstrate the use of modifications in burned areas’ spatial properties as proxies to detect habitat loss and landscape fragmentation in savanna ecosystems: propose a monitoring methodology to detect hot spots of landcover change using high resolution satellite data. 4. Show how changes in fires’ extension can detect processes of habitat loss in savanna protected areas (ecological isolation of WAP complex). 5. Experimentally demonstrate the changes in herbaceous biomass in vegetation stands that experienced a conversion from natural habitat to set aside and explain the potential consequences on combusted gas emitted. 6. Use a theoretical qualitative model to investigate the effects of fires on savanna ecosystems, and produce management scenarios. The dissertation emphasizes the techniques and the role of some new modelling tools available to the ecologists: satellite remote sensing, GIS and Loop Analysis. The thesis is divided in four modules (sub-continental analysis, landscape scale, experimental study and theoretical study in savanna ecosystems) that discuss the investigations carried out at different environmental scales.
JRC Institute:Institute for Environment and Sustainability

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