Fire Note 92. Fire severity mapping: Mapping the effects of fire on savanna vegetation in northern Australia from satellite imagery.
This Fire Note builds on the PhD work of Andrew Edwards on mapping the effects of fire on tropical savanna woodlands and open forests using satellite based remote sensing data. Andrew collected much of his data from a helicopter with a hand-held satellite sensor hovering 100 metres above the ground.
Most eucalypt ecosystems depend on frequent low intensity fire to maintain natural nutrient cycles and the balance between established trees and their competitors and arbivores. Absence of frequent fire alters these processes and sometimes allows mass establishment of fire sensitive seedlings. Mature trees can be affected directly by the soil changes and indirectly by enhanced competition and arbivory. This can result in chronic decline of eucalypts and gross changes in the structure and composition of ecosystems.