This section is dedicated to the monitoring of vegetation fires in the protected areas of the ACP countries.
Fires are central in the ecology of tropical ecosystems and can act as a threat or a regenerating factor depending on the ecosystem adaptations to it. Many ecosystems in the world are fire-dependent and for them fire is essential to maintain their functionalities and their biodiversity. The importance of fire in global conservation has been recognized in the Preliminary Assessment of Fire as a Global Conservation Issue by Hardesty et al. . Their analysis shows that “around 84% of the ecoregions identified by scientists as critical for global conservation have altered fire regimes. This alteration can cause biodiversity loss and habitat degradation”. Besides its relevance for conservation, fire is also a common practice for land management in the tropical regions.
NEW! A Fire Monitoring Tool for Protected Areas. Start the Tool
During 2013 we have developed a dedicated web client for fire monitoring in Protected Areas. A technical report describing the functions of the tool is available and you can access the turorial on you tube (see below).
We developed a new tool for fire monitoring especially designed for people working in conservation and park management. This web client aims at supporting ecologists and managers in their conservation activities. It helps understanding the fire ecology of a protected area, its needs and the areas under pressure. Threats like poaching or conflicts (inside or outside the park) can be identified because they often cause fire, deliberately or by accident. The tool can be also a valuable mean to improve and verify the fire management plans in the protected area. More generally it allows to characterize specific fire regimes as well as their alteration in time.
The tool is a web client that provides historical and near-real time information about fire activity derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) burned area and active fire products [2, 3]. The MODIS products are distributed by NASA FIRMS  and the University of Maryland and cover more than a decade, from late 2000 to present.
We assess fire activity using two types of information:
- fire occurrence (location and timing of active fires)
- burned area extent.
The user can select a protected area from the countries (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) of the ACP region and choose a period of time. For each selection the tool produces, on the fly, graphs, tables and maps of the fire activity. The content and its graphical representation have been designed to provide a synthesis of the fire activity by season and by vegetation classes. We update the information of fire occurrence daily and we distribute it 48 hours after the satellite acquisition. The burned areas information becomes available 1-2 months after the satellite observation because it requires a longer processing.
The maps of fire occurrence, fire density and burned area can be downloaded and used in a GIS environment or as simple images.
We focus on protected areas but we provide also information on their immediate surroundings (a buffer area of 25km around the park) to understand how they relate to each other. The difference in the fire density observed inside and outside a protected area is used as an indicator of the protected area's ecological condition in comparison to its context [5, 6].
1. Hardesty J., Myers R., and Fulks W. 2005. Fire, Ecosystems and People: A Preliminary Assessment of Fire as a Global Conservation Issue. The George Wright Forum Vol. 22, 4, pp, 78 – 87. The Nature Conservancy.
2. Giglio L., Descloitres J., Justice C.O., Kaufman Y.J., 2003. An Enhanced Contextual Fire Detection Algorithm for MODIS. Remote Sensing of Environment 87 (2-3): 273-282.
3. Roy D.P., Boschetti L., Justice C.O., Ju J., 2008. The Collection 5 MODIS Burned Area Product - Global Evaluation by Comparison with the MODIS Active Fire Product. Remote Sensing of Environment, 112, 3690-3707.
5. Grégoire J-M., Simonetti D., 2010. Interannual change of fire activity in the protected areas of the SUN network and other parks and reserves of the West and Central Africa region derived from MODIS observations. Remote Sensing, 2010, 2, 446-463.
6. Grégoire J-M., Eva H.D., Belward A.S., Palumbo I., Simonetti D., Brink A., 2012. Effect of land-cover change on Africa’s burnt area. International Journal of Wildland Fire, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF11142.
We acknowledge NASA EOSDIS FIRMS, LANCE as the data source of the active fire data and the University of Maryland for providing the MCD45 product on the burned area.