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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Airborne Laser Technology for Measuring Rangeland Conditions

Authors
item RITCHIE, JERRY
item Chopping, Mark
item PACHEPSKY, YAKOV
item SEYFRIED, MARK

Submitted to: Journal of Range Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 9, 2000
Publication Date: July 1, 2001

Interpretive Summary: This paper describes the application of airborne laser data for making measurements of surface and vegetation properties that are key for understanding range conditions. Profiling and scanning airborne laser altimeter systems provide an alternative method to ground methods for easily and economically measuring land surface and vegetation features and properties for large land areas. Airborne laser and field measurements are in good agreement for topographic features, vegetation height, and vegetation cover. These airborne laser measurements of topographic and plant canopy properties across the landscape allow us to better understand evaporative losses, infiltration, and surface water movement. These laser measurements improve our understanding of the effect of canopy and landscape roughness on rangelands conditions and will allow better management of rangelands.

Technical Abstract: Land surface and vegetation properties are key for understanding range conditions. Ground-based measurements of these properties are difficult and time consuming. Profiling and scanning airborne laser altimeter systems provide an alternative method to quickly and easily measure land surface and vegetation features and properties for large land areas. The agreement between airborne laser altimeter and field measurements is good for topographic features, vegetation properties (i.e., height, cover), and surface roughness. This paper presents examples of the applications of profiling and scanning airborne lasers as additional tools in the arsenal of remote sensing tools used to monitor rangeland conditions. Airborne laser measurements of plant canopy properties across the landscape and their effects on aerodynamic roughness allow better understanding of evaporative losses, infiltration, and surface water movement. Laser measurements improve our understanding of the effect of canopy and landscape roughness on rangelands conditions.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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