Comparison of Satellite-Derived and Modeled Fire Return Intervals in Boreal Siberia

EPA Grant Number: U915846
Title: Comparison of Satellite-Derived and Modeled Fire Return Intervals in Boreal Siberia
Investigators: Soja, Amber J.
Institution: University of Virginia
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: August 1, 2000 through August 1, 2003
Project Amount: $83,508
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Terrestrial Ecology and Ecosystems , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration


The objective of this research project is to determine fire return intervals and area burned in major ecosystems in boreal Siberia using multiscale remotely sensed imagery. This data product will be compared to a landscape-scale, succession model that varies fire return intervals to produce expected landscape patterns.


Images taken from the medium resolution (1 km) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) will be analyzed using ENVI satellite processing software to determine area burned in Siberia for the year 2000. The area burned product will be validated for each major ecosystem using high resolution (30 m) Landsat 7 Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery. Because boreal forests are fire disturbance driven systems that succeed in regular sequences, space is substituted for time to determine fire return intervals. Area burned in each ecoregion will be determined by geographically referencing the AVHRR-derived area burned product to an ecoregion map using Arcview. From this analysis, fire return intervals will be calculated (1 / percent area burned per ecoregion per year). A landscape-scale, succession model that is based on silvics and has the capability of altering fire return intervals is used to determine percent forest cover (ecoregion). Modeled landscape patterns, resulting from silvics-determined fire return intervals, will be compared to those established from the satellite-based data set in each of the major ecoregions.

It is expected that ecoregions dominated by Pinus sylvestris should have a fire return interval of about 70 years, and dark coniferous forest should have a fire return interval of more than100 years.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, boreal, Siberia, ecosystem, fire, terrestrial, ecology, area burned, satellite, remote sensing, landsat, Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, AVHRR, model., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, Geography, exploratory research environmental biology, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Chemical Mixtures - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecosystem Protection, Monitoring/Modeling, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, computing technology, Ecological Effects - Human Health, Habitat, Regional/Scaling, Ecology and Ecosystems, International, Exp. Research/future, Futures, Ecological Indicators, remote sensing, aquatic modeling, burned area, dark coniferous forest, landscape-scale succession model, terrestrial forests, boreal forests, Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), fire return intervals, modeling, multiscale remotely sensed imagery, ecosystem, Siberia, ecosystems, remote sensing imagery, landscape patterns, fire regimes in forests and grasslands

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001
  • 2002
  • Final