Fire Frequency, Fire Seasonality and Fire Intensity within the Okavango Region Derived from MODIS Fire Products


The analysis and evaluation of ecosystems in the Okavango region must include a thorough analysis of the fire regime. This requires a full understanding of its components such as fire frequency, fire season and fire intensity. For the Okavango region these components were derived based on an extensive multi-scale compilation of the MODIS products “Active Fire” (AF) and “Burned Area” (BA) covering the period 2001 to 2012. The integrated analysis of these mutually exclusive datasets allowed for a comprehensive characterisation of important descriptors of the large scale fire regime. The descriptive fire parameters are discussed considering dominant land cover classes. These were derived by clustering phenological metrics which were in turn derived by analysing temporally dense MODIS time series of the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI).The variation within the study area regarding the overall area affected by fire, the fire frequency as well as the fire seasonality can be explained to a high degree by land cover and local human fire management practises. Thus, Miombo woodlands are less affected by fires than other vegetation communities like for instance thornbush savannahs or grasslands in the river valleys of the upper catchment.We provide a considerable overview of spatial and temporal fire dynamics within the Okavango region. This is an important step in generating the necessary information required to feed into land use management scenarios.

Biodiversity & Ecology 5 - Special Volume: Environmental Assessments in the Okavango Region