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Factors limiting vegetation recovery in Southern California Chaparral: 2017 Thomas Fire Ventura County, CA

Authors: Ivy Christina Rea*, California State University, Dominguez Hills, Parveen Chhetri, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Topics: Biogeography
Keywords: biogeography, chaparral, wildfire
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: Download



California wildfires play a significant role in the chaparral ecosystem. The chaparral is a biome that is adapted to infrequent fires and is sensitive to environmental changes. To investigate the factors that affect recovery after a major fire, we selected a 2017 Thomas fire of Ventura county. Ventura County falls within the coastal chaparral region, and in 2017 the Thomas fire burned 281,893 acres of land. This project investigates the recovery after the fire by looking at the roles played by climate, topography, and soil profile within the burned area. To investigate such factors, we used climate data, Landsat satellite images, ASTER Digital Elevation Model (DEM), GIS layers, and GPS data. The methodology followed two main steps: bimonthly Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) generation, topographic variables generation from DEM, and identify high and low vegetation recovery zones. We found that climate (moisture), topographical (elevation, slope, aspect), and edaphic (soil type, soil depth) factors control vegetation recovery.

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