Utilizing Remote Sensing to Generate Disturbance Response Group Extent and Vegetative State Maps in MLRA 25
AuthorPhipps, Lucas A.
AdvisorStringham, Tamzen K.
Agriculture, Veterinary and Rangeland Sciences
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Disturbance and management decisions on western landscapes occur at a scale far larger than ecological site mapping. Disturbance response groups aggregate ecological sites based upon disturbance ecology, and allow for common state and transition models to be utilized across landscapes. Soil and plant community information was gathered from northern Nevada, where dominant ecological site and related soil differs from minor components in a binary fashion. Loamy and Claypan ecological sites, respectively, vary along an elevation and precipitation gradient through 8”-10”, 10”-12” and 12”-14” precipitation zones. Spatial statistics and water deficit modeling from areas identified during field surveys are utilized to model soil component extent. State and Transition models appropriate to soil component are applied to continuous vegetation mapping derived through remote sensing. Vegetation sampling methods will also be compared to provide a locally accurate relationship between point line intercept, continuous line intercept (for shrub species), Daubenmire and ground based vertical imagery (GBVI) as provided by Open Range Consulting (ORC). ORC has successfully utilized GBVI as training datasets to create land cover maps at a landscape scale. If a relationship is established between traditional plot scale vegetation metrics and GBVI, then existing plot scale vegetation quantification datasets would be able to inform landscape scale cover maps significantly enhancing utility to land managers. This combined with enhanced ecological site maps and appropriate state and transition models as described above could provide a powerful landscape scale management tool.