CSU Campus or Other Affiliation

California State University Dominguez Hills


In the past, wildfires served as a method for mother nature to promote biodiversity and to help maintain a functioning ecosystem. However, climate change alters the fire regime, significantly impacting vegetation recovery. Human disturbances and increased land use and land cover heighten vegetation disruption and abundance after a fire. Wildland-urban interface (WUI) – the region where the vegetation intermingles with the roads, houses, and human-made structures – threatens vegetation and the human population. Overall vegetation recovery after the Station Fire of 2009 spread through the San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County was observed using Digital Elevation Model (DEM), Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and Normalized Difference Burn Ratio (nDBR) spectral indices. In addition, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) images were used to measure aboveground biomass (AGB). The study analyzed vegetation biomass recovery by comparing human disturbances and the level of fire severity within the Station Fire perimeter. Low and moderate fire severity were compared in detail against WUI and non-WUI regions by quantifying the amount of biomass in the specified regions. Linear regression model results showed vegetation recovery rates were slower in WUI regions than in non-WUI regions despite having similar regeneration patterns while AGB rebound was similar across both region categories.