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Tropical forests are known for hosting about half of the global biodiversity, and therefore are considered to be a fundamental part of the Earth System. However, in the last decades, the anthropogenic pressure over these areas has been continuously increasing, mostly linked to agricultural expansion. This has created great international concern, which has crossed the limits of national policies.

Appropriate assessment of the accuracy of burned area products is required to assess greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a reliable way. This paper provides validation results for three burned area products with different pixel sizes: MCD45 (500 m), GlobCarbon (1 km), and L3JRC (1 km) for the Orinoco River basin, which is widely affected by fires, many of them oriented towards the conversion of Amazonian forest to cattle pasture.

Forest fires contribute to deforestation and have been considered a significant source of CO2 emissions. There are global maps that estimate the area affected by a fire using the reflectance variation of the surface. In this study, we evaluated the reliability and the causes of error of the MCD45 Burned Area Product, by applying the confusion matrix method to the Orinoco River Basin. This basin is located in the northern zone of South America, and consists mainly of savanna ecosystems. For the evaluation, we used as reference data five pairs of Landsat images, covering 165,000 km2.

 Los productos globales de área quemada tienden a omitir una importante extensión de área afectada por el fuego, este error luego se traslada a otros modelos, por ejemplo, en las estimaciones nacionales de gases efecto invernadero utilizando el método conocido como “bottom up”. En este trabajo se evalúan métodos temporales para mejorar la identificación de áreas quemadas con datos de resolución espacial media (Landsat 5-TM y 8-OLI).

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