Savanna biomes are distributed across Africa, Australia and South America, and its distribution is determined by variation in rainfall amount and seasonality, soil fertility, and disturbance regimes. Fire is a natural and anthropic disturbance that affects savanna vegetation, thus quantifying long-term changes in the temporal and spatial patterns of fire occurrence is crucial for understanding the driving forces of change in fire dynamics, and assist on land management and conservation practices. As part of my postdoctoral research, I have completed the reconstruction of fire occurrence for the Parque Nacional Serra do Cipó (MG) and the encircled Área de Proteção Ambiental Morro da Pedreira (MG) for the period between 1984 to 2014. I propose a comparison of fire regimes between two tropical savannas located in the same latitude but in different continents (Africa and South America), combining remote sensing methods and in situ data information of plant richness and structure. The second proposed study area is the Ibity New Protected Area, located in Madagascar's central highlands. Although located on different continents, the two protected areas share ecological similarities. The method used during the reconstruction of fire history for Serra do Cipó (FAPESP project 2014/12728-1) will be replicated to reconstruct fire occurrence in Ibity New Protected Area. The method is based on the record of Landsat 5 TM, Landsat 7 ETM+ and Landsat 8 OLI images. Mapping of burn scars will based on the visual interpretation of false color composites of each Landsat image, followed by manual delineation. Red-green-blue composites will be created for each image, using bands 5 (1550-1750 nm), 4 (760-900 nm), and 3 (630-690 nm) from TM/ETM+, and bands 6 (1.57-1.65 µm), 5 (0.85-0.88 µm) and 4 (0.64-0.67 µm) from OLI. I will also compile existing field data about plant richness and structure to determine the effects of fire frequency, recurrence, and time since last fire on vegetation. By comparing both locations, I also expect to identify if community responses are similar on an intercontinental scale, or if particular adaptive strategies for species in each continent determine overall fire effects.
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