Theme: East-West Interdisciplinary Boreal Forest Fire Experiment, Part 1 Moderator: J.G. Goldammer 7.8.1995 16:30 Room: U16
Forest Fire Occurrence in Russia and Canada: Ground, Aerial, and Satellite Measurements
Stocks, Brian J., Korovin, Georgy N., Sukhinin, Anatoly, Cahoon, Donald R., Goldammer, Johann G.
Growing concern over global change has recently focused attention on the important role of the boreal forest zone in the global carbon budget. Forest fires are the major disturbance regime in boreal forests, with potential impacts on carbon storage and cycling, particularly if current climate change projections materialize. There is now a recognized need for improved monitoring and documentation of boreal fires, particularly in the remote regions of the Russian Federation and Canada, where little forest fire management is practiced, and fire activity is expected to increase in future years. This paper reports on recent developments aimed at improving our knowledge of the extent and impact of recent, current, and future boreal fires.
In recent years scientists have been using NOAA AVHRR satellite imagery to monitor large boreal fires in remote regions of Siberia, particularly during the severe 1987 fire season, but also during major fire outbreaks in 1991 and 1992. Techniques have been developed that permit reasonably good estimates of area burned using AVHRR 1-km resolution satellite data. Ground-truthing of satellite fire measurements, using helicopter mapping and acquired higher-resolution satellite data (Landsat, SPOT) is also underway. The establishment of a permanent NOAA AVHRR satellite downlink in central Siberia will greatly improve coverage of the remote regions of Siberia where large areas burn annually but are not recorded. Russian and Canadian fire scientists have also recently begun to archive recent large fires in GIS databases. This information will permit a cooperative, detailed analysis of the spatial and temporal distribution of large boreal fires in both countries.