Rhett L. Mohler, Ph.D.* - Kansas State University
Prescribed burning is a common management tool in the tallgrass prairies of the Flint Hills. However, it affects (positively and negatively) both human and natural systems, such as vegetation communities, wildlife communities, and air quality. Researchers focusing on the effects of burning have called for reliable burned area maps and a quantification of burning activity in the Flint Hills, as no such estimate existed prior to this study. Using MODIS imagery, we mapped burned area in the Flint Hills from 2000-2011. This revealed the annual amount of burning throughout the region, the spatial pattern of that burning, and the frequency with which different parts of the region were burned across the 11-year study period. The resulting data is now being used to study the effects of burning in the Flint Hills and beyond.