Comparison of the MODIS Active Fire Product and Burned Area Product in Detecting Fire Affected Pixels in the Ecosystems of Belize 2003 - 2009
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The MODIS Active Fire Product (AFP) and the Burned Area Product (BAP) were used to analyze the spatial and temporal distribution of fire affected pixels in the ecosystems of Belize from 2003-2009. There was an overall trend of decreasing fire affected pixels detected by the AFP (r2= 0.073) and the BAP (r2= 0.283) from 2003-2009. Years associated with El-Niño events (2004, 2006 and 2009) had the three lowest detection rates by both the MODIS products. The year 2003 had the highest recorded pixel detections by both algorithms with 1,513 pixels detected by the AFP and 576 by the BAP. 2004 had the lowest recorded pixels detected with 381 and 21 pixels detected by the AFP and the BAP respectively. The AFP detected more thermal anomalies (6,244 pixels) than the BAP detected burned areas (1,476 pixels) in all the terrestrial ecosystems of Belize during 2003-2009. The distribution of fire affected pixels in the ecosystems of Belize is not random in regards to ecosystem percent cover with the exception of the AFP detections in the Wetland and Urban ecosystems. Ecosystems that experienced greater amounts of observed fires than expected by both the AFP and the BAP include the lowland savanna, submontane pine forests, lowland pine forests and shrubland ecosystems. Ecosystems that observed less detections of fire than expected by the AFP and the BAP include all four of the broad-leaved forest ecosystems and the Mangrove and littoral forests. The submontane (AFP r2=0.004, BAP r2=0.005) and lowland (AFP r2= 0.632, BAP r2= 0.235) pine forests saw an increase in fire affected pixels by both MODIS products from 2003-2009. The majority of the pine forest detections occurred during a La-Niña year in May of 2007. The MODIS AFP detected the majority of thermal anomalies by the Aqua satellite (4,265 pixels) during the mid-afternoon pass from 11:30-13:00 local time (4,082 pixels).