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Title Fire distribution in West African Savannas using satellite data

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Short title Fire in West Africa

Author(s) Yao, A.N.(1,2); Landmann, T.(1,2); Schmidt, M.(1,2); Konaté, S.(3); Dech, S.(1); Linsenmair, K.E.(4)

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Institution(s) (1) DLR/DFD, German Aerospace Centre; (2) Remote Sensing and Biodiversity Unit, University of Wuerzburg; (3) Tropical Ecology Station of Lamto, University of Abobo-Adjamé; (4) Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, University of Wuerzburg

Keywords Fire; West Africa Savannas; MODIS imagery

Abstract Biomass burning is recognized to have a critical influence on the global biogeochemical cycles, controlling the amount of global greenhouse gases and aerosols, and modifying or maintaining the natural environment.
In Africa, fire frequencies are very high in the dry tropical area. Fires have largely contributed to the bio complexity in savannas. They are mostly of anthropogenic origin.
The study area is in West Africa, which is experiencing drastic rates of natural habitat loss. Satellite remote sensing is the only tool that allows a systematic collection of data on a variety of scales, and for long temporal periods. The aims of this study were to understand the fire distributions from 2000 to 2006 using MODIS fire product at 1 kilometer resolution and to analyse its prevalence on the vegetation types using the GLC2000 (Global Land Cover 2000).
The results showed that fire frequencies in the dry season are much greater than in the rainy season. Their frequency increases with the length of the dry season. In general, the fire season is at the beginning of November to the end of April. The earlier fire season from November to the end of January is characterized by fires of low intensity. The later fire season from February to April is characterized by more severe fires. The highest fire frequency is from December to January.
Superimposed on the vegetation map, Deciduous shrubland with sparse trees and Deciduous woodland are most affected by the bushfires in West Africa.

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