Pereira, JMC, Mota, B, Privette, JL, Caylor, KK, Silva, JMN, Sa, ACL, Ni-Meister, W (2004). A simulation analysis of the detectability of understory burns in miombo woodlands. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 93(3), 296-310.

The miombo woodlands of southern Africa are one of the most extensively burned biomes in the tropics. The detectability of understory burns in these woodlands was assessed with a sensitivity analysis approach, based on a hybrid geometrical-optical radiative transfer model. Model input data were obtained from a variety of sources, including field biometry and spectroradiometry, and satellite data. The effects of variable tree percent cover, leaf area index, stand density, burn scar age, illumination and observation geometry, and spectral region, were taken into account. Detectability of understory burns was defined as the spectral separability of burned and unburned understory, measured with the Jeffries-Matusita distance, for all possible combinations of the green, red, and near-infrared channels of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) sensor. Single channels, or pairwise combinations of channels perform poorly at detecting understory burns, but a large improvement in detectability is obtained for the combination of the three spectral domains. The detectability of understory burns is largely insensitive to the effects of stand structure and illumination/observation geometry, and depends primarily on burn scar age. Our results agree with those of previous satellite-based studies of burns scar detectability in African savanna woodlands. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.