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Woods Hole Research Center plans controlled burn in Amazon rainforest

urious to see how those trees that have resprouted from their roots will fare in this second fire, as their profusions of dense, green, living branches are very close to the ground and may be damaged if too close to the flames. If their standing dead trunks manage to catch fire, researchers will learn how resilient they really are, and also see new areas of the forest exposed to fire as the standing fuel carries the flames higher into the crowns of trees that have managed to survive the ground fires at their bases. Ultimately, Center scientists will burn some areas yearly for several years in a row to carefully monitor fire behavior, and to see how many fires a forest can withstand and ultimately, how it compares to its former self.

Staffs of the Woods Hole Research Center and its partner research institute in Brazil, the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazonia (IPAM), are carrying out the fires with additional collaboration with faculty and staff of the State University of Mato Grosso (UNEMAT) and Yale University. In addition, local firefighters will be present to aid in controlling the fire and also to use the opportunity to train with actual forest fires. Collaborators at Stanford University are collecting satellite data prior to and after the burn for each of the 3 parcels, to compare the appearance of the forest before and after, to perfect methods for identifying burned forest by satellite, and to measure the damage caused by the fires. Wherever possible, our burns are also scheduled during satellite overpasses, to allow collection of remotely sensed thermal data for comparison with our detailed ground measurements of heat and intensity, under the varying but well-measured forest canopy. 'Hot pixel' data from satellites have long been used to detect the presence of fires on the landscape, but it has been difficult to get accurate qualitative information from these sensors, or even to verify how reliable those measurements were for detecting active
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Source:Woods Hole Research Center


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