Remote sensing of environment vol:108 issue:4 pages:357-368
This paper evaluated the capacity of SPOT VEGETATION time-series to monitor herbaceous fuel moisture content (FMC) in order to improve fire risk assessment in the savanna ecosystem of Kruger National Park in South Africa. In situ herbaceous FMC data were used to assess the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), Vegetation Dryness Index (VDI), Improved VDI (IVDI), and Accumulated Relative NDVI Decrement (ARND) during the dry season. The effect of increasing amounts of dead vegetation on the monitoring capacity of derived indices was studied by sampling mixed live and dead FMC. The IVDI was proposed as an improvement of the VDI to monitor herbaceous FMC during the dry season. The IVDI is derived by replacing NDVI with the integrated Relative Vegetation Index (iRVI), as an approximation of yearly herbaceous biomass, when analyzing the 2-dimensional space with NDWI. It was shown that the iRVI offered more information than the NDVI in combination with NDWI to monitor FMC. The VDI and IVDI exhibited a significant relation to FMC with R 2 of 0.25 and 0.73, respectively. The NDWI, however, correlated best with FMC (R-2 = 0.75), while the correlation of ARND and FMC was weaker (R-2 = 0.60) than that found for NDVI, NDWI, and IVDI. The use of in situ herbaceous FMC consequently indicated that NDWI is appropriate as spatio-temporal information source of herbaceous FMC variation which can be used to optimize fire risk and behavior assessment for fire management in savanna ecosystems. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.