Burn severity mapping from Landsat MESMA fraction images and Land Surface Temperature.

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Quintano, C., Fernandez-Manso, A., Roberts, D.A. (2017) - Burn severity mapping from Landsat MESMA fraction images and Land Surface Temperature. - Remote Sensing of Environment / Elsevier

Forest fires are incidents of great importance in Mediterranean environments. Landsat data have proven to be
suitable for evaluating post-fire vegetation damage and determining different levels of burn severity, which is
crucial for planning post-fire rehabilitation. This study assessed the utility of combined Multiple Endmember
Spectral Mixture Analysis (MESMA) fraction images and Land Surface Temperature (LST) to accurately map
burn severity. We studied a large convection-dominated wildfire, which occurred on 19–21 September 2012
in Spain, in a zone dominated by Pinus pinaster Ait. Burn severity degree (low,moderate, and high)wasmeasured
2–3months after fire in 111 field plots using the Composite Burn Index (CBI). Four fraction images were generated
usingMESMA fromthe reflective bands of a post-fire Landsat 7 Enhanced ThematicMapper (ETM+)image:
1.-char, 2.-green vegetation (GV), 3.-non-photosynthetic vegetation and soil (NPVS) and 4.-shade. The thermal
band was converted to LST using a single channel algorithm. Next, Multinomial Logistic Regression (MLR) was
used to obtain the probability of each burn severity level from MESMA fraction images and LST. Finally, a burn
severity mapwas generated fromthe probability images and independently validated using an error matrix, producer
and user accuracies per class, and κ statistic. MLR identified the char fraction image and LST as the only significant
explanatory variables when burn severity acted as the response variable. Two burn severity degrees
(low-moderate and high) were finally considered to build the final burn severity map. In this way, we reached
a higher accuracy (κ = 0.79) than using the original three burn severity levels (κ = 0.66). Our study demonstrates
the validity of combining fraction images and LST from Landsat data to map burn severity accurately in
Mediterranean countries.

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