Mapping the recovery of the burnt vegetation by classifying pre- and post-fire spectral indices


  • M.A. Peña Universidad Alberto Hurtado
  • J. Ulloa Universidad Alberto Hurtado



NDVI, Landsat, wildfire, image time series, error matrix


This study analyzed the state of recovery of the burnt vegetation in the National Park of Torres del Paine between December, 2011 and March, 2012. The calculation and comparison of the NVDI (normalized difference vegetation index) of the burnt area throughout a time series of 24 Landsat images acquired before, during and after the fire (2009- 2015), showed the temporal variation in the biomass levels of the burnt vegetation. The subsequent classification and comparison of the spectral indices: NDVI, NBR (normalized burnt ratio) and NDWI (normalized difference water index) on a full-data available and phenologically matched pre- and post-fire image pair (acquired in October 2009 and 2014), enabled to analyze and mapping the state of recovery of the burnt vegetation. The results show that the area of the lowest classes of all the spectral indices of the pre-fire date became the most dominant on the post-fire date. The pre- and post- fire NDVI class crossing by a confusion matrix showed that the highest and most prevailing pre-fire NDVI classes, mostly corresponding to hydromorphic forests and Andean scrubs, turned into the lowest class in 2014. The remaining area, comprising Patagonian steppe, reestablished its biomass levels in 2014, mostly exhibiting the same pre-fire NDVI classes. These results may provide guidelines to monitor and manage the regeneration of the vegetation impacted by this fire.


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Author Biographies

M.A. Peña, Universidad Alberto Hurtado

Departamento de Geografía

J. Ulloa, Universidad Alberto Hurtado

Departamento de Geografía


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