Dr. José Manuel Fernández Guisuraga

2024 Early Career Award in Fire Science
Dr. José Manuel Fernández Guisuraga, Postdoctoral researcher, CITAB - Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Portugal José Manuel is a hard-working researcher who performs at the highest level. He masters several tools at state-of-the-art level, including remote sensing techniques and innovative data analysis tools. Being intellectually curious and highly motivated he is eager to learn and develop scientifically. José Manuel rapidly develops, implements, and leads to completion ideas and work suggestions. He is proficient at working independently, but he also bonds easily with other researchers, namely Ph.D. students who benefit from his support and experience. The outcome has been a very high scientific productivity, as manifested in his CV, including breakthrough work about fire severity assessment that is being published in the most esteemed journals of the field. Among his substantial contributions: In the frame of his Ph.D. thesis, José Manuel published four papers (2020-2022) in the most prestigious journals of the JCR remote sensing category, including ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing of the Environment. As a result of his postdoctoral collaboration in an international project of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and several US universities, he has published in 2023 a paper as leading author in which a fundamental driver of the prevailing fire regime in the western United States, the litter accumulation of exotic herbaceous species, has been assessed using physically-based remote sensing techniques for the first time. In 2023 he published a paper in which a novel methodology, easy to apply by managers, was developed to assess fire severity using radiative transfer models and satellite imagery. This methodology solves the serious generalization and accuracy problems that institutions such as the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) or the Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) project in the US have in estimating moderate and high severities through commonly used spectral indices. He was the principal investigator (PI) in the British Ecological Society (BES) International Research Project “Exploring the effects of fire severity on ecosystem multifunctionality in fire-prone landscapes (SR22-100154)”. The BES project has acquired new knowledge on the functions and services of Mediterranean ecosystems that may be more affected by extreme wildfire events. This novel approach is expected to foster substantial advances in the field of functional and applied ecology. Very recently, and as a further testimony of the quality of his past and future (planned) work, a 6-year employment contract has been awarded to Dr. Fernández-Guisuraga by the Portuguese Science Foundation in the frame of the extremely competitive Scientific Employment Stimulus Call. For all the motives stated, plus his other contributions (teaching, students supervision, training), he is well deserving of this Early Career in Fire Science Award.