Uncertainty in the modeling of spatial big data on a pattern of bushfires holes

A. Stein (Corresponding Author), V.A. Tolpekin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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This paper focuses on the presence of vegetation patches, called holes remaining after forest fires. Holes are of interest to explore because their vegetation is affected by severe temperature stress nearby, although they can serve as an agent to regenerate a forest after the burn. Further, it is interesting to know why holes emerge at all, while little if anything is known about their structure and distribution in space. A statistical analysis of their presence and abundance and a spatial statistical analysis to analyze their positions was done within four forest fire footprints. Fractal dimension of the holes was compared to that of the forest fire footprint, whereas remote sensing imagery was used to identify the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) of the patches before and after the fire. Results showed that the fractal dimension of the holes is lower than that of the forest fire footprint, and that the NDVI is slowly recovering to the original NDVI. Differences with the NDVI of the surrounding areas remain large. We concluded that patches of vegetation after a forest fire are interesting to study, providing clues of why unburned patches occur despite the fire presence nearby, how they can be characterized spatially and how the vegetation composition responds to such nearby fire. The Recommendations for Resource Managers: Forest fires affect the forests, and have an effect on the population living within the forest and close to it. A forest fire commonly leaves behind a large number of unburnt vegetation patches. In this study we call them holes. These holes have been under severe heat and smoke pressure, but have similar tree species and forest structure as the original forest. They serve as the starting point to regenerate the forest. The primary implications for resource management are as follows: A better understanding of where they are, and how they are composed may help to understand the behavior of a fire. Their characterization may help to better understand the relation between vegetation as a fuel for forest fire. Their biodiversity will improve the fire spread modeling of burns that are carried out for management of a forest stand.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12180
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalNatural Resource Modelling
Issue number3
Early online date9 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Forest fire
  • Hole
  • Spatial variation
  • Fractal dimension
  • Remote sensing
  • NDVI
  • Vegetation patches


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