Xing’an larch, a deciduous coniferous species, is the zonal tree of the Greater Xing’an Mountains in Northeast China. In May 1987, a catastrophic fire broke out in the mountains and burned 1.3 million hectares of forests in 26 days. While studies have shown that forest greenness has come back to normal in certain years, the re-composition of this zonal species has not been studied after the 1987 fire. With a series of Landsat 8 OLI images acquired in 2013–2015, this study builds the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Green Vegetation Index (GVI) time series in a complete growing cycle. A decision tree is developed to classify tree species with an overall accuracy of 86.16% and Kappa coefficient of 0.80. The re-composition of Xing’an larch after the 1987 fire is extracted, and its variations in areas under different fire intensities are statistically analyzed. Results show that Xing’an larch comprises 17.52%, 26.20% and 33.19% of forests in burned areas with high, medium and low fire intensities, respectively. Even around 30 years after the 1987 fire, the composition of this zonal species in boreal forest has not been fully recovered in the Greater Xing’an Mountains. The Xing’an larch map extracted in this study could serve as base information for ecological and environmental studies in this south end of the boreal Eurasia.
Published in Remote Sensing, Volume 9, Issue 5, 2017, pages 1-13.
© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Wang, J., Wang, C., & Zang, S. (2017). Assessing Re-Composition of Xing’an Larch in Boreal Forests after the 1987 Fire, Northeast China. Remote Sensing, 9(5), 504. doi:10.3390/rs9050504