Ten Hoeve, JE; Remer, LA; Correia, AL; Jacobson, MZ (2012). Recent shift from forest to savanna burning in the Amazon Basin observed by satellite. ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 7(2), 24020.
The numbers of fires detected on forest, savanna and transition lands during the 2002-10 biomass burning seasons in Amazonia are shown using fire count data and co-located land cover classifications from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The ratio of forest fires to savanna fires has varied substantially over the study period, with a maximum ratio of 0.65:1 in 2005 and a minimum ratio of 0.27:1 in 2009, with the four lowest years occurring in 2007-10. The burning during the droughts of 2007 and 2010 is attributed to a higher number of savanna fires relative to the drought of 2005. A decrease in the regional mean single scattering albedo of biomass burning aerosols, consistent with the shift from forest to savanna burning, is also shown. During the severe drought of 2010, forest fire detections were lower in many areas compared with 2005, even though the drought was more severe in 2010. This result suggests that improved fire management practices, including stricter burning regulations as well as lower deforestation burning, may have reduced forest fires in 2010 relative to 2005 in some areas of the Amazon Basin.