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An Operational Approach for Mapping Bushfire History in the Tropical Savannas of Northern Australia

Zhang, Yue, Whitehead, Peter J., Ahmad, Waqar and Menges, Carl H. (2000). An Operational Approach for Mapping Bushfire History in the Tropical Savannas of Northern Australia. In: 21st Asian Conference on Remote Sensing, Taipei, Taiwan, 4-8 December 2000.

Document type: Conference Paper
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Author Zhang, Yue
Whitehead, Peter J.
Ahmad, Waqar
Menges, Carl H.
Title An Operational Approach for Mapping Bushfire History in the Tropical Savannas of Northern Australia
Conference Name 21st Asian Conference on Remote Sensing
Conference Location Taipei, Taiwan
Conference Dates 4-8 December 2000
Place of Publication Tapei, Taiwan
Publisher Asian Association on Remote Sensing
Publication Year 2000
Start Page 609
End Page 614
Total Pages 6
HERDC Category E2 - Conference Publication - Full written paper, non refereed proceedings (internal)
Abstract Tropical savannas occupy one third of Australia's landmass, and are composed of dense grasslands and scattered trees. Both deliberately lit and natural wildfire sweep across the vast monsoonal savannas of northern Australia each year and the consequence of these modern fire regimes can be catastrophic for fire-sensitive plants and animals. This paper presents an interactive methodology which improves the mapping accuracy for mapping fire history from Landsat Thematic Mapper data of an area with typical savanna landscape characteristics of northern Australia. A satellite image captured in the middle dry season of the year 2000 was used. With the visible red, NIR and MIR bands, an unsupervised digital image classification was carried out to delineate the burnt patches. These patches were labelled by using field knowledge as well as by on-screen assessment of the raw data and signature files for previously confirmed fire scars. Spectral overlap between fire scars, water bodies, shadows and miscellaneous geological features was observed and was eliminated by using of a binary spatial mask and the Digital Elevation Model (DEM). The validity of the fire mapping was assessed with the help of field data as well as using a high spatial resolution IKONOS image acquired at the time of the TM data recording.
 
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