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Project ID: 01-1-4-12

Year: 2001

Date Started: 09/17/2001

Date Completed: 10/12/2006

Title: Evaluate Sensitivities of Burn-Severity Mapping Algorithms for Different Ecosystems and Fire Histories in the United States

Project Proposal Abstract: This proposal responds to Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) Request for Proposals 2001-1, Task 4. Specifically, the proposed research is in direct response to JFSP statements that research is needed to "develop, apply, and validate improved remote sensing applications for quantifying ... fire effects such as fire distribution and severity", and "approaches must be validated by, and linked to, ground measurements." Objectives of this proposal also relate to 2001-2, addressing fire effects as an emergency response. We propose to validate Normalized Burn Ration (NBR), a bun-area mapping algorithm, for its robust and consistent performance under different conditions of ecosystems, fire histories and vegetation effects over time. The validation will be based on Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery and field data collected using Composite Burn Index (CBI), a field tool for bum-severity rating and correlating field data with TM burn maps. Both NBR and CBI have been developed in a general Northern Rockies ecosystem. Preliminary results show that the algorithms performed better and more consistently than other existing methods such as normalized difference of vegetation index.

Principal Investigator: Zhiliang L. Zhu

Agency/Organization: USGS-Geological Survey

Branch or Dept: National Center

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Carl H. Key

USGS-Geological Survey

CCME-Climate Change in Mountain Ecosystems

Co-Principal Investigator

Donald Ohlen

USGS-Geological Survey

EROS Data Center


Randy A. McKinley

USGS-Geological Survey

EROS Data Center

Federal Cooperator

Zhiliang L. Zhu

USGS-Geological Survey

National Center

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network




Great Basin

Great Plains

Lake States

Oak Woodlands

Northern Rockies




Southern Rockies



There are no project locations identified for this project.

Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
    2428 Journal Article Publish research results in peer-reviewed journals.
    547 Dataset (including spatial) Both hardcopy and softcopy mapping results will be delivered to land managers of the test sites for evaluation and feedback.
    673 Dataset (including spatial)  
    674 Dataset (including spatial)  
    675 Dataset (including spatial)  
    677 Computer Model/Software/Algorithm NBR implemented on EDC image processing system for large scale operational burn area mapping.
    1001 Conference/Symposia/Workshop  

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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