Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Marsh fires burn on a regular basis on the Southwestern Louisiana Coast from both natural and anthropogenic ignitions. Remote sensing based studies of these fires are scarce. Several burn scar mapping techniques have been developed and implemented for study of forest fires in the American West but have not been applied to marsh fires. Erdas Imagine and ArcGIS Software was used to process Landsat imagery of the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in accordance with the most commonly used burn scar mapping spectral indices and tested for accuracy against manually digitized burn scar maps. Indices tested included the Normalize Burn Ratio (NBR), Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and Tasseled Cap Transformation (TCAP). After determining the most accurate burn scar mapping technique, six fire scars were studied in detail over the course of one year to analyze the difference between late Fall and mid- Winter fires. Multi-temporal burn scar extraction methods returned better results than did single image date techniques. It was found that the differenced NDVI was the most accurate method of burned pixel extraction. Fall and Winter fires exhibited different recovery patterns but returned to similar NDVI levels within the study period suggesting there is no significant difference in overall recovery due to the burn date. Fall and Winter burns did however show different patterns in the post fire “green-up” and therefore fire seasonality may play a role in marsh management depending on the management goals.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Anthony J. Lewis