Journal of Remote Sensing & GIS, Vol 2, No 1 (2011)

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Analysis of Wildfire Occurrences within the Shores of Lake Chad using Geo-information Technology

Haruna. K. Ayuba, Anthony Dami, Mohammed .D. Bila

Abstract


Geographic Information Technology provides an important tool in modeling ecosystem dynamics. One of the drivers of ecosystem change in the Lake Chad Basin is wildfire. This paper examines the historical spatial patterns of wildfires and employed a trend analysis using Geographic Information System (GIS) technique in analyzing fire pixel counts from MODIS images of the period 2001-2009. The results revealed a declining trend in wildfire occurrences and a non-linear relationship in the numbers of wildfire occurrences for the period 2001-2009. This is due to the interplay of several factors such as human influence, winds, temperature changes, and the type, extent and spread of vegetation. During the period under study, the total number of fires recorded in the Lake floor is 25,690 with a burnt area of 19,274 km2. The highest number of fires occurred in 2001, with varying figures in subsequent years. The highest number of fires in 2001 may be connected to the extent of flooding and the subsequent invasion by vegetal biomass on the Lake floor after the recession of floods. The decline in wildfires is indicative of the fact that the biomass within the lake floor, which would ordinarily have been burnt, is now being cleared to make way for farmlands. The declining trend in wildfires on the lake floor of the Lake Chad Basin is seen as a good development for the basin.

Keywords: Wildfire trend, MODIS, Lake Chad Basin, Geographic Information System


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