Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Geospatial Science and Engineering

First Advisor

David P. Roy


The Brazilian Tropical Moist Forest Biome (BTMFB) is “Earth’s greatest biological treasure and a major component of the earth system” and forest degradation and deforestation by fire is a serious issue in this region. Fires in the BTMFB can be broadly classified as maintenance, deforestation and forest fire types. Spatially and temporally explicit information on the incidences of fire types are important as they have widely varying atmospheric emissions and ecological impacts. Satellite based remote sensing is a practical means of monitoring the BTMFB that spans almost 4 million km2. However, there has been no way to reliably classify satellite active fire type to date. In this work, methods to characterize MODIS active fire detections are developed using physically based and geographic context/proximity approaches. The research methodology is developed by addressing four hypotheses concerning differences among active fire type characteristics including factors that drive and mediate fire in the BTMFB. Differences in the active fire characteristics among different fire types are presented and discussed. The spatio-temporal distribution of fire types over 8 year (2003-2010) period is documented, analyzed and presented. This dissertation has, to date, resulted in one published, one in press, and one submitted paper.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Fires -- Brazil -- Classification
Deforestation -- Brazil
Forest fires -- Brazil
Prescribed burning -- Brazil


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2014 Sanath Kumar Sathyachandran