Special Issue "Fire in Savanna Landscapes"

A special issue of Fire (ISSN 2571-6255).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Aziz Ballouche
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography, Faculty of Sciences, University of Angers, LETG UMR 6554 CNRS, 2 Boulevard de Lavoisier, 49045 Angers, France
Interests: savanna; burned landscapes; fire history; land cover/land use change; Anthropocene; West Africa; Madagascar

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fire is an omnipresent phenomenon in savanna environments, and the tropical savanna is the biome where most fire activity occurs worldwide. For a long time, bushfires were viewed with apprehension by the governing authorities and severely repressed, especially in colonized countries. They have thus been the subject of numerous regulations but also of control and management measures. The role of fire in savanna has also been studied for its impacts on vegetation, soils, and fauna at the scale of the ecosystem and that of the landscape. Studies have also attempted to show its contribution to the process of tropical forest degradation and even desertification.

Over the past two decades, the views of both scientists and environmental managers have gradually shifted. More critical environmental thinking, complex epistemological conceptions, and innovative observation and modeling methods favor new scientific approaches. Fire’s ecological role is best understood first as an intrinsic dynamic factor in savanna ecosystems, then as a generator of landscape heterogeneity, potentially leading to new forms of biodiversity (pyrodiversity). Palaeoenvironmental and historical studies demonstrate that savanna landscapes are mostly the manifestation of long-term interaction between humans and nature, of which one of the keys to deciphering is the history of the uses of fire and burning. In the social sciences, it is also concerned with understanding the indigenous fire management systems with less pejorative representations and how human strategies and livelihoods are significant variables that should be explored. The growing number of experiences with prescribed fires in protected areas is a living testimony to the change in the vision of environmental managers. At the same time, it is necessary to continue to observe and model the dynamics of burned areas and fire regimes in relation to vegetation, bioclimatic conditions, and diverse practices of the local populations to better understand their evolution in the context of climate and land-use change. Finally, fire is increasingly investigated as a crucial issue in the processes in action during the Anthropocene.

One of the objectives of the Special Issue is to question all these new approaches. While some savanna regions such as Australia or Brazil have been the subject of such studies, they are still insufficient elsewhere and deserve to be better disseminated. However, more monographic approaches are still necessary to document burned areas and characterize their fire regimes in many savanna landscapes. This type of study is welcome, especially in poorly documented regions in proportion to the importance of the role played by fires.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Aziz Ballouche
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Fire is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Savanna landscape
  • Savanna ecosystem
  • Land cover
  • Bushfires
  • Fire ecology
  • Fire regimes
  • Fire history
  • Pyrodiversity
  • Human dimensions of fire and burning
  • Wildfire management
  • Land use change
  • Climate change
  • Anthropocene

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Estimation of Byram’s Fire Intensity and Rate of Spread from Spaceborne Remote Sensing Data in a Savanna Landscape
Fire 2021, 4(4), 65; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fire4040065 - 29 Sep 2021
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Fire behavior is well described by a fire’s direction, rate of spread, and its energy release rate. Fire intensity as defined by Byram (1959) is the most commonly used term describing fire behavior in the wildfire community. It is, however, difficult to observe [...] Read more.
Fire behavior is well described by a fire’s direction, rate of spread, and its energy release rate. Fire intensity as defined by Byram (1959) is the most commonly used term describing fire behavior in the wildfire community. It is, however, difficult to observe from space. Here, we assess fire spread and fire radiative power using infrared sensors with different spatial, spectral and temporal resolutions. The sensors used offer either high spatial resolution (Sentinel-2) for fire detection, but a low temporal resolution, moderate spatial resolution and daily observations (VIIRS), and high temporal resolution with low spatial resolution and fire radiative power retrievals (Meteosat SEVIRI). We extracted fire fronts from Sentinel-2 (using the shortwave infrared bands) and use the available fire products for S-NPP VIIRS and Meteosat SEVIRI. Rate of spread was analyzed by measuring the displacement of fire fronts between the mid-morning Sentinel-2 overpasses and the early afternoon VIIRS overpasses. We retrieved FRP from 15-min Meteosat SEVIRI observations and estimated total fire radiative energy release over the observed fire fronts. This was then converted to total fuel consumption, and, by making use of Sentinel-2-derived burned area, to fuel consumption per unit area. Using rate of spread and fuel consumption per unit area, Byram’s fire intensity could be derived. We tested this approach on a small number of fires in a frequently burning West African savanna landscape. Comparison to field experiments in the area showed similar numbers between field observations and remote-sensing-derived estimates. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first direct estimate of Byram’s fire intensity from spaceborne remote sensing data. Shortcomings of the presented approach, foundations of an error budget, and potential further development, also considering upcoming sensor systems, are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fire in Savanna Landscapes)
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