Title: On the Suitability of the Use of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index for Forest Fire Risk Assessment
Citation: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING vol. 27 no. 22 p. 5095-5102
Publication Year: 2006
JRC N°: JRC34568
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC34568
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The NOAA-AVHRR Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) has often been used for forestry applications, including forest fire risk estimation. The decrement of NDVI values over a particular area has been considered an indicator of vegetation stress and linked to high fire risk. In the Mediterranean region, a large number of fires occurred in areas where the NDVI values were low. Consequently, the link between low NDVI values and fire occurrences was established. However, studies supporting this hypothesis were only based on analysis of areas that suffered fires. Information over similar areas where fires did not occur was not taken into consideration. This study investigates the ability of NDVI to discriminate levels of fire risk in Spain. A very large dataset of satellite sensor images and fire events was used for this purpose. The relative frequency distribution of NDVI values in both areas, those that suffered fires and those where fires did not occur, was compared in a 10 year period. The results highlight that NDVI values on areas were fires took place were similar to NDVI values in areas in which fire did not occur, showing the limitations of using the NDVI as index of fire risk.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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