Dr Kirsten Barrett

Associate Professor

School/Department: Geography Geology and the Environment, School of





Article reviewer for: Ecological Applications, Remote Sensing of Environment, Environmental Research Letters, Ecosphere, Canadian Journal of Forest Research, Remote Sensing of Environment, International Journal of Wildland Fire, Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, Journal of Disaster Research


I am interested in the combination of remotely sensed imagery and field data to examine landscape-scale effects of anthropogenic and natural disturbances, and the associated consequences for global climate change. My current research focuses on wildfire disturbance in high northern latitude ecosystems. Fire-driven changes in ecosystem structure and function feed back to the global climate system primary through changes in carbon cycling and albedo. I am concerned with characterizing fire severity in the boreal forest and tundra using a combination of remotely sensed imagery and non-spectral data. Of particular interest to me are disturbance interactions and how increases in wildfire activity and severity are likely to affect vegetation composition in the boreal forests of western North America and the pan-boreal region.


Dr K Barrett (65%) Wildfire disturbance-recovery dynamics in Southern Siberia, From: 2/1/2017 - To: 1/1/2020, funded by NERC (NAT. ENVIRONMENT RES COUN)(NE/N009495/1), Sum Awarded: £378701



Burrell, AL, Q Sun, R Baxter, EA Kukavskaya, S Zhila, T Shestakova, BM Rogers, J Kaduk, and K Barrett, 2022. Climate change, fire return intervals and the growing risk of permanent forest loss in boreal Eurasia. Science of The Total Environment, 831, p.154885.

Sun, Q, A Burrell, K Barrett, EA Kukavskaya, L Buryak, J Kaduk, and R Baxter, 2021. Climate variability may delay post-fire recovery of boreal forest in southern siberia, Russia. Remote Sensing, 13(12), p.2247.

Burrell, A, EA Kukavskaya, R Baxter, Q Sun, and K Barrett, 2021. Post-fire recruitment failure as a driver of forest to non-forest ecosystem shifts in boreal regions. In Ecosystem Collapse and Climate Change (pp. 69-100). Springer, Cham.

Barrett, K, R Baxter, EA Kukavskaya, H Balzter, EG Shvetsov, LV Buryak, 2020. Postfire recruitment failure in Scots pine forests of southern Siberia. Remote Sensing of Environment, 237, 11539.

Bispo, PDC, P Rodríguez-Veiga, B Zimbres, S do Couto de Miranda, C Henrique Giusti Cezare, S Fleming, F Baldacchino, V Louis, D Rains, M Garcia and F Del Bon Espírito-Santo, I Roitman, A María Pacheco-Pascagaza, Y Gou, J Roberts, K Barrett, L Guimaraes Ferreira, J Zanin Shimbo, A Alencar, M Bustamante, IH Woodhouse, E Eyji Sano, JP Ometto, K Tansey, H Balzter. 2020. Woody aboveground biomass mapping of the Brazilian savanna with a multi-sensor and machine learning approach. Remote Sensing, 12(17), p.2685.

Walker, XJ ,BM Rogers, S. Veraverbeke, JF Johnstone, JL Baltzer, K Barrett, L, Bourgeau-Chavez, NJ Day, WJ de Groot, CM Dieleman, S  Goetz, E Hoy, LK Jenkins, ES Kane, MA Parisien, S Potter, EAG Schuur, M Turetsky, E Whitman and MC Mack 2020. Fuel availability not fire weather controls boreal wildfire severity and carbon emissions. Nature Climate Change, 10(12), pp.1130-1136.

Shvetsov, EG, EA Kukavskaya, LV Buryak, and K Barrett, 2019. Assessment of post-fire vegetation recovery in Southern Siberia using remote sensing observations. Environmental Research Letters, 14(5), p.055001.

Barnes, C, H Balzter, K Barrett, J Eddy, S Milner, and JC Suárez. 2017. Airborne laser scanning and tree crown fragmentation metrics for the assessment of Phytophthora ramorum infected larch forest stands. Forest Ecology and Management, 404, 294-305.

Barnes, C, H Balzter, K Barrett, J Eddy, S Milner, and JC Suárez, 2017. Individual Tree Crown Delineation from Airborne Laser Scanning for Diseased Larch Forest Stands. Remote Sensing, 9(3), p.231.

Barrett, K, T Loboda, AD McGuire, H Genet, E Hoy, and E Kasischke. 2016. Static and dynamic controls on fire activity at moderate spatial and temporal scales in the Alaskan boreal forest. Ecosphere 7(11):e01572. 10.1002/ecs2.1572

Tsutsumida, N, A Comber, K Barrett, I Saizen, and E Rustiadi. 2016. Sub-Pixel Classification of MODIS EVI for Annual Mappings of Impervious Surface Areas. Remote Sensing 8, 143.

Genet, H, AD McGuire, K Barrett, A Breen, ES Euskirchen, JF Johnstone, ES Kasischke, AM Melvin, A Bennett, MC Mack, TS Rupp, AEG Schuur, MR Turetsky, and F Yuan. 2013. Modeling the effects of fire severity and climate warming on active layer thickness and soil carbon storage of black spruce forests across the landscape in interior Alaska. Environmental Research Letters, 8(4), 045016.

Barrett, K., and E.S. Kasischke. 2013. Controls on variations in MODIS fire radiative power in Alaskan boreal forests: Implications for fire severity conditions. Remote Sensing of Environment. 130: 171-181.

Barrett, K, J Valentim, and BL Turner, II. 2013. Ecosystem Services from Converted Land: the importance of tree cover in Amazonian pastures. Urban Ecosystems. doi:10.1007/s11252-012-0280-1.

Barrett, K, AV Rocha, MJ van de Weg, and G Shaver. 2012. Long-term vegetation shifts observed in arctic tundra affected by fire. Remote Sensing Letters 3(8): 729–736.

Barrett, K, ES Kasischke, AD McGuire, and EE Hoy. 2011. Potential shifts in forest composition in interior Alaska driven by variations in fire severity. Ecological Applications 21(7): 2380–2396.

Barrett, K, ES Kasischke, AD McGuire, MR Turetsky, and ES Kane. 2010. Modeling burn severity in black spruce stands in the Alaskan boreal forest. Remote Sensing of Environment. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2010.02.001

Barrett, K, J Rogan and R Eastman. 2009. A Case Study of Carbon Fluxes from Land Cover Change in the Southwest Brazilian Amazon, Journal of Land Use Science 4: 233-248.



Research areas for PhD supervision

  • Remote sensing
  • Wildfire
  • Boreal forests
  • Carbon dynamics
  • Disturbance-recovery cycles

I am interested in supervising students on the following topics:

  • Impact of boreal ecosystem function on wildfire occurrence
  • Contribution of smouldering combustion to boreal wildfire emissions
  • Human health impacts of smoke from boreal wildfires


If you are interested in studying for a PhD in one of these research areas, please make informal enquiries via

Find out more information about Geography PhDs including more research areas, how to apply, funding and entry requirements.


Find out more about our current research postgraduates.

  • Student: Mohammed Alhedyan
    • Thesis: Urban Change Detection of Al-Khafji City, Saudi Arabia, using Remote Sensing Data.

  • Student: Chloe Barnes
    • Thesis: Detection of Phytophthora ramorum in Larch (Larix) Stands using a Series of Remote Sensing Methods

  • Student: Ana Maria Pacheco-Pascagaza
    • Thesis: Integration of Glass-Lidar, high resolution SAR imagery and Optical resolution imagery for validating forest degradation

  • Student: Maryam Pourshamsi
    • Thesis: Remote sensing for ecosystem services
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