Monitoring herbaceous fuel moisture content with SPOT VEGETATION time-series for fire risk prediction in savanna ecosystems

Verbesselt, J
Somers, B
Lhermitte, S
Jonckheere, I
van Aardt, J
Coppin, P
Remote Sensing of Environment
Publication Year: 
This paper evaluated the capacity of SPOT VEGETATION time-series to monitor herbaceous fuel moisture content (FMC) in order to improve fire risk assessment in the savanna ecosystem of Kruger National Park in South Africa. In situ herbaceous FMC data were used to assess the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), Vegetation Dryness Index (VDI), Improved VDI (IVDI), and Accumulated Relative NDVI Decrement (ARND) during the dry season. The effect of increasing amounts of dead vegetation on the monitoring capacity of derived indices was studied by sampling mixed live and dead FMC. The IVDI was proposed as an improvement of the VDI to monitor herbaceous FMC during the dry season. The IVDI is derived by replacing NDVI with the integrated Relative Vegetation Index (iRVI), as an approximation of yearly herbaceous biomass, when analyzing the 2-dimensional space with NDWI. It was shown that the iRVI offered more information than the NDVI in combination with NDWI to monitor FMC. The VDI and IVDI exhibited a significant relation to FMC with R2 of 0.25 and 0.73, respectively. The NDWI, however, correlated best with FMC (R2 = 0.75), while the correlation of ARND and FMC was weaker (R2 = 0.60) than that found for NDVI, NDWI, and IVDI. The use of in situ herbaceous FMC consequently indicated that NDWI is appropriate as spatio-temporal information source of herbaceous FMC variation which can be used to optimize fire risk and behavior assessment for fire management in savanna ecosystems.
Name of Journal: 
Remote Sensing of Environment
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Grassland Society of Southern Africa

The Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) is involved and concerned with the science and practice of range and pasture management. This broad field involves primarily the use and conservation of natural resources. It encompasses applied fields such as livestock production, wildlife management, nature conservation, water catchment management and range and mine-dump rehabilitation. The disciplines include, amongst others, ecology, botany zoology, range and pasture science, animal science, soil science and genetics. This collection includes journal articles from the African Journal of Range and Forage Science as well as related articles and reports from throughout the Southern African region.