Monitoring post-wildfire vegetation regeneration in the Northern Black Hills of Wyoming using Landsat images

Hutchinson, Orin J.
Wildfires are an integral part of forest ecosystems that results in the removal of old and decadent trees and reestablishment of new vegetation. Following a wildfire event, invasive species and grasses/forbs will establish on the site first followed by shrubs and trees in later years. This natural cycle is necessary for wildlife requiring open space and for species that require old growth as the area matures with time. Forest managers are interested in monitoring this re-growth but do not have all the resources to conduct periodic ground-based monitoring. Over the recent years this condition is further exacerbated due to the increase in the number of wildfires. Satellite images can be used to monitor re-growth at these sites due to the fact that they periodically collect data. In this study, Landsat images acquired prior to and after the 2004 Basin Draw fire were used to monitor vegetation regeneration across different burn intensities (high, moderate, and low) and aspect (north and south). Results from this study reveal the patterns of regeneration and how they vary across different burn intensities and aspect.
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