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University of South Africa (2021)

Fire encroachment into the Karoo National Park

Khomola, Thivhonali Jonathan

Titre : Fire encroachment into the Karoo National Park

Auteur : Khomola, Thivhonali Jonathan

Université de soutenance : University of South Africa

Grade : Master of Science in Environmental Science 2021

Résumé
The impacts of fire are multifaceted and pose a threat to ecosystems not accustomed to fire. In the Karoo National Park, no study has been conducted on fire management because the park is assumed to have very little fire occurrence. This study assessed fire encroachment into the Karoo National Park utilising remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS). The main objective of the study was to measure the frequency and intensity of fire, and map distribution of fire hotspots over space and time. This was achieved through acquiring the aqua and terra MODIS fire data from 2002 to 2016 from The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS). The remote sensing dataset was augmented with South African Weather Services (SAWS) meteorological data like rainfall, wind speed, wind direction and temperature. The analysis of fire frequency revealed that there was a change in the fire regime in the early 21st century. Karoo escarpment grassland vegetation is associated with more fires than any other vegetation type, hence creating a fire hotspot. Furthermore, a decline in rainfall and increase in temperature was exacerbating fire intensity and frequency. For an improved fire management protocol, the study recommends the development of a fire management plan since there are high frequencies of droughts, likely to cause more fires. The results show the possibility of integrating GIS and RS to assess fire encroachment in the Karoo National Park, and perhaps other semi-arid area in Southern Africa and elsewhere.

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Page publiée le 8 janvier 2023