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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Applications and Research Using Remote Sensing for Rangeland Management

Authors
item Hunt, Earle
item Everitt, James
item Ritchie, Jerry
item Moran, Mary
item Booth, D
item Anderson, Gerald
item Clark, Patrick
item Seyfried, Mark

Submitted to: Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 25, 2002
Publication Date: June 1, 2003
Citation: HUNT JR, E.R., EVERITT, J.H., RITCHIE, J.C., MORAN, M.S., BOOTH, D.T., ANDERSON, G.L. APPLICATIONS AND RESEARCH USING REMOTE SENSING FOR RANGELAND MANAGEMENT. PHOTOGRAMMETRIC ENGINEERING AND REMOTE SENSING.

Interpretive Summary: Rangelands are grasslands, shrublands and savannas which may be used for grazing livestock in order to produce food and fiber. Assessment and monitoring of rangelands are currently based on comparing the species present in relation to a defined successional end-state. However, future assessment and monitoring should use indicators of ecosystem health: sustainability of soil, sustainability of plant production, and presence of invasive weed species. USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are actively engaged in developing quantitative, reproducible and low-cost methods to determine ecosystem health using remote sensing. Noxious weed infestations can be determined by careful selection of the spatial resolution, spectral bands, and timing of image acquisition. Rangeland productivity can be estimated with either Landsat or Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer data using models of gross primary production based on radiation use efficiency. Lidar measurements are useful for canopy structure and soil roughness indicating susceptibility to erosion. The value of remote sensing for rangeland management depends in part on combining the imagery with other spatial data within geographic information systems. Finally, ARS scientists are creating the knowledge on which future rangeland assessment and monitoring tools may be developed.

Technical Abstract: Rangelands are grasslands, shrublands and savannas which may be used for grazing livestock in order to produce food and fiber. Assessment and monitoring of rangelands are currently based on comparing the species present in relation to a defined successional end-state. However, future assessment and monitoring should use indicators of ecosystem health: sustainability of soil, sustainability of plant production, and presence of invasive weed species. USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are actively engaged in developing quantitative, reproducible and low-cost methods to determine ecosystem health using remote sensing. Noxious weed infestations can be determined by careful selection of the spatial resolution, spectral bands, and timing of image acquisition. Rangeland productivity can be estimated with either Landsat or Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer data using models of gross primary production based on radiation use efficiency. Lidar measurements are useful for canopy structure and soil roughness indicating susceptibility to erosion. The value of remote sensing for rangeland management depends in part on combining the imagery with other spatial data within geographic information systems. Finally, ARS scientists are creating the knowledge on which future rangeland assessment and monitoring tools may be developed.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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