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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Utility of Historical Aerial Photographs for Detecting and Judging the Effectiveness of Rangeland Remediation Treatments

Authors
item Rango, Albert
item Havstad, Kris

Submitted to: Environmental Practice
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2003
Publication Date: June 1, 2003
Citation: RANGO, A., HAVSTAD, K.M. THE UTILITY OF HISTORICAL AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS FOR DETECTING AND JUDGING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF RANGELAND REMEDIATION TREATMENTS. ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICE. 2003. V. 5(2). P. 107-118.

Interpretive Summary: Many remediation treatments have been applied to rangelands in the western U.S. since the 1930's. But, many records regarding the exact type of treatment and the extent of the treatment have been lost. Rangelands are relatively unpopulated and remote so that, even today, we do not have enough information to make rangeland management decisions. Fortunately, aerial photography, which is inexpensive, easy to interpret and acquire, and possesses high resolution, can be applied to improve rangeland strategies. The use of aerial photos to identify and monitor rangeland remediation treatments over time are demonstrated for contour terraces, brush water spreaders, rootplow seeding, water ponding dikes, shrub removal by grubbing, and grazing exclosures. The techniques are easy to use, provide common ground for communication among those involved in rangeland management, and provide a point of departure for involvement in more sophisticated satellite-based remote sensing systems. The products and techniques can be used by ranchers, land managers, and Federal and state government scientists.

Technical Abstract: Aerial photos are a type of remote sensing data especially valuable for rangeland applications. This type of data has advantages that include relative ease of interpretation and acquisition, inexpensiveness, high resolution (1-2m), and providing a common reference for communication among those involved in rangeland management. Additionally, air photos are especially well suited for analysis of historical rangeland remediation treatments because acquisition of widespread aerial photographic coverage began during the 1930's. Several types of treatments are easily identified and monitored over time, including contour terraces, brush water spreaders, rootplow seeding, water ponding dikes, shrub removal by grubbing, and grazing restrictions. The use of aerial photos allows us the opportunity to recreate the management history of rangeland and to serve as a point of departure for involvement in more sophisticated satellite-based remote sensing systems.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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