2023 Prescribed Fire effects monitoring for the Southern Appalachians
Prescribed fire effects are often subtle due to the generally mild weather conditions in which they occur. In recent decades, most Southern Appalachians prescribed fires have been implemented in the winter and spring, with a range of burn objectives including fuels reduction, habitat maintenance, and restoration. While research has demonstrated that the high severity patch-forming effects of wildfires are generally greater than for prescribed fire, burns at 5-10 year frequency can progressively open patches to achieve objectives for restoring open forest structure.
HiForm's standardized approach to monitoring with NDVI provides a powerful way to quantify change for individual burns, discriminate among burn outcomes in different forest types, topographies, and seasons, and gives us a way to track progressive change over the long-term as fires are restored to this complex landscape. When combined with field-obtained species compositional data and ancillary remote sensing information, this general approach provides measures and means to track management activity and disturbances.