The potential of sentinel satellites for burnt area mapping and monitoring in the Congo Basin forests

Verhegghen Astrid, Eva Hugh D., Ceccherini Guido, Achard Frédéric, Gond Valéry, Gourlet-Fleury Sylvie, Cerutti Paolo Omar. 2016. The potential of sentinel satellites for burnt area mapping and monitoring in the Congo Basin forests. Remote Sensing, 8 (986), 22 p.

Journal article ; Article de recherche ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact Revue en libre accès total
Published version - Anglais
License CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication.

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Quartile : Q1, Sujet : REMOTE SENSING

Abstract : In this study, the recently launched Sentinel-2 (S2) optical satellite and the active radar Sentinel-1 (S1) satellite supported by active fire data from the MODIS sensor were used to detect and monitor forest fires in the Congo Basin. In the context of a very strong El Niño event, an unprecedented outbreak of fires was observed during the first months of 2016 in open forests formations in the north of the Republic of Congo. The anomalies of the recent fires and meteorological situation compared to historical data show the severity of the drought. Burnt areas mapped by the S1 SAR and S2 Multi Spectral Instrument (MSI) sensors highlight that the fires occurred mainly in Marantaceae forests, characterized by open tree canopy cover and an extensive tall herbaceous layer. The maps show that the origin of the fires correlates with accessibility to the forest, suggesting an anthropogenic origin. The combined use of the two independent and fundamentally different satellite systems of S2 and S1 captured an extent of 36,000 ha of burnt areas, with each sensor compensating for the weakness (cloud perturbations for S2, and sensitivity to ground moisture for S1) of the other. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Forêt, Forêt tropicale humide, Incendie de forêt, Incendie, Incendie spontané, Cartographie, Spectroscopie infrarouge, Satellite radar, Surveillance de l’environnement, protection de la forêt, Sécheresse, Analyse spectrale, Télédétection, Facteur anthropogène, Marantaceae

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : République démocratique du Congo, Congo

Mots-clés libres : Congo Basin, Marantacee forests, Tropical forest, Burnt area, Congo

Classification Agris : K01 - Forestry - General aspects
K70 - Forest injuries and protection
F40 - Plant ecology
U30 - Research methods

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 6 (2014-2018) - Sociétés, natures et territoires

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Verhegghen Astrid, JRC (ITA)
  • Eva Hugh D., IES (ITA)
  • Ceccherini Guido, JRC (ITA)
  • Achard Frédéric, Centre commun de recherche de la commission européenne (ITA)
  • Gond Valéry, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-0080-3140
  • Gourlet-Fleury Sylvie, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-1136-4307
  • Cerutti Paolo Omar, CIFOR (KEN)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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