January 21, 2021

« All News

Lauren Mathews Coauthored Articles for Remote Sensing and Geosciences

Lauren Mathews (California) coauthored an article entitled “Urban Fire Severity and Vegetation Dynamics in Southern California” for publication in Remote Sensing on December 23, 2020.

She also coauthored “Vegetation and Fluvial Geomorphology Dynamics after an Urban Fire” for publication in Geosciences on August 16, 2020.

For both articles, Lauren’s coauthor was Alicia Kinoshita, San Diego State University.

Lauren Mathews is a Staff Professional based in California with both an educational and professional background in microbiology and microbial source tracking, fire-related remote sensing and vegetation monitoring, stormwater monitoring and reporting, laboratory biogeochemistry and elemental analysis, and hydrologic and fluvial geomorphology monitoring.

Remote Sensing publishes regular research papers, reviews, letters, and communications covering all aspects of remote sensing science, from sensor design, validation/calibration, to its application in geosciences, environmental sciences, ecology and civil engineering. Its aim is to publish novel/improved methods/approaches and/or algorithms of remote sensing to benefit the community, open to everyone in need of them.

Geosciences is an international, peer-reviewed open access journal, which publishes original papers, rapid communications, technical notes and review articles, and discussions about all interdisciplinary aspects of the earth and planetary sciences. This comprises the solid earth, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere, as well as related issues of planetary and space sciences. In addition, it provides a particular place, and an advanced forum, for contributions on Earth history, natural hazards, geology-related environmental problems and geoethics, reflecting the wide scope and societal, educational, cultural, and in general, human implications of the cross-cutting nature of the issues.


“Urban Fire Severity and Vegetation Dynamics in Southern California”

A combination of satellite image indices and in-field observations was used to investigate the impact of fuel conditions, fire behavior, and vegetation regrowth patterns, altered by invasive riparian vegetation. Satellite image metrics, differenced normalized burn severity (dNBR) and differenced normalized difference vegetation index (dNDVI), were approximated for non-native, riparian, or upland vegetation for traditional timeframes (0-, 1-, and 3-years) after eleven urban fires across a spectrum of invasive vegetation cover. Larger burn severity and loss of green canopy (NDVI) was detected for riparian areas compared to the uplands. The presence of invasive vegetation affected the distribution of burn severity and canopy loss detected within each fire. Fires with native vegetation cover had a higher severity and resulted in larger immediate loss of canopy than fires with substantial amounts of non-native vegetation. The lower burn severity observed 1–3 years after the fires with non-native vegetation suggests a rapid regrowth of non-native grasses, resulting in a smaller measured canopy loss relative to native vegetation immediately after fire. This observed fire pattern favors the life cycle and perpetuation of many opportunistic grasses within urban riparian areas. This research builds upon our current knowledge of wildfire recovery processes and highlights the unique challenges of remotely assessing vegetation biophysical status within urban Mediterranean riverine systems.

“Vegetation and Fluvial Geomorphology Dynamics after an Urban Fire”

The goal of this research was to characterize the impact of invasive riparian vegetation on burn severity patterns and fluvial topographic change in an urban Mediterranean riverine system (Med-sys) after fire in San Diego, California. We assessed standard post-fire metrics under urban conditions with non-native vegetation and utilized field observations to quantify vegetation and fluvial geomorphic processes. Field observations noted both high vegetation loss in the riparian area and rapidly resprouting invasive grass species such as Arundo donax (Giant Reed) after fire. Satellite-based metrics that represent vegetation biomass underestimated the initial green canopy loss, as did volumetric data derived from three-dimensional terrestrial laser scanning data. Field measurements were limited to a small sample size but demonstrated that the absolute maximum topographic changes were highest in stands of Arundo donax (0.18 to 0.67 m). This work is the first quantification of geomorphic alterations promoted by non-native vegetation after fire and highlights potential grass–fire feedbacks that can contribute to geomorphic disruption. Our results support the need for ground-truthing or higher resolution when using standard satellite-based indices to assess post-fire conditions in urban open spaces, especially when productive invasive vegetation are present, and they also emphasize restoring urban waterways to native vegetation conditions.

More Information

About the article: https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13010019
About the article: https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10080317
For consultation regarding urban fire, contact Lauren Mathews at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Learn more about Lauren: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-hilliard-mathews-b79b94132/