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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Application of Optics to Estimate Rangeland Production and View Obstruction Reading (Vor) at the Grand River National Grassland

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To use remote sensing-based data to estimate VOR at the Grand River National Grassland.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
ARS will approach the problem of determining rangeland biomass under variable climatic conditions using hyperspectral aerial and multispectral satellite-based data collected both at the end of June and the beginning of September.


3.Progress Report

We succeeded in completing the first phase with the design and implementation of a simple, cost-effective data product that assesses relative differences in canopy structure at the 30 and 15 m pixel scales. In this initial phase, we.
1)classified and randomized sample points for a 90,000 acre landscape using reflectance data from 2000 to 2009;.
2)characterized sample points with respect to vegetation species, canopy height and biomass;.
3)characterized sample points and the entire landscape with respect to elevation and vegetation reflectance by modeling digital elevation and broad-band image data. This approach to grassland landscape assessment can inform land managers of where conservation efforts may need to be applied at a grassland scale. Additional work, required in subsequent phases, will address application of hyperspectral data at a plot scale to assess vegetation height.


Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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