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Journal of Applied Remote Sensing • Open Access

Development of an integrated multiplatform approach for assessing brush management conservation efforts in semiarid rangelands
Author(s): Chandra D. Holifield Collins; Mark A. Kautz; Ronald Tiller; Sapana Lohani-Joshi; Guillermo E. Ponce-Campos; John D. Hottenstein; Loretta J. Metz

Paper Abstract

Millions of dollars have been spent on brush management, or removal of unwanted woody vegetation, as a conservation practice to control the presence of woody species. Land managers need an inexpensive means of monitoring the effects of brush management conservation methods for decreasing degradation in rangeland systems. In this study, free, publically available, high-resolution (1 m) imagery from the National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) and moderate-resolution (30 m) Landsat-5 Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery were combined to produce a large-scale technique for mapping woody cover. High-resolution imagery-based estimates of woody cover were found to be reasonable (RMSE=3.8%, MAE=2.9%) surrogates for ground-based woody cover. An equation for TM-derived woody cover was developed. TM scenes of woody cover (TMWC) were produced and validated using NAIP and ground-based data. Results showed that the developed relation produced viable (RMSE=8.5%, MAE=6.4%) maps of woody cover that could be used to successfully track the occurrence of brush removal, as well as monitor the presence or lack of subsequent reemergence. This work provides land managers with an operational means of determining where to allocate resources to implement brush management, as well as a cost-effective method of monitoring the effects of their efforts.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 May 2015
PDF: 15 pages
J. Appl. Remote Sens. 9(1) 096057 doi: 10.1117/1.JRS.9.096057
Published in: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing Volume 9, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Chandra D. Holifield Collins, Southwest Watershed Research Ctr. (United States)
Mark A. Kautz, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Ronald Tiller, The Nature Conservancy (United States)
Sapana Lohani-Joshi, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Guillermo E. Ponce-Campos, Southwest Watershed Research Ctr. (United States)
John D. Hottenstein, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Loretta J. Metz, USDA NRCS (United States)


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