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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Spectral Properties of Tree Cholla and Yucca Measured by An Airborne Hyperspectral Sensor and the Resulting Maximum Likelihood Classification of Rangelands

Authors
item Mirik, Mustafa - TEXAS AGRIC EXP STATION
item Michels, JR., Gerald - TEXAS AGRIC EXP STATION
item Kassymzhanova-Mirik, Sabina - TEXAS AGRIC EXP STATION
item Jones, David - TEXAS AGRIC EXP STATION
item Elliott, Norman

Submitted to: Biennial Workshop on Aerial Photography, Videography, and High Resolution Digital Imagery for Resource Assessment Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2005
Publication Date: November 1, 2005
Citation: Mirik, M., Michels, Jr., G.J., Kassymzhanova-Mirik, S., Jones, D., Elliott, N.C. 2005. Spectral properties of tree cholla and yucca measured by an airborne hyperspectral sensor and the resulting maximum likelihood classification of rangelands. In: Proceedings of the 20th Biennial Workshop on Aerial Photography, Videography, and High Resolution Digital Imagery for Resource Assessment, October 4-6, 2005, Weslaco, Texas. 2005 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: Remote sensing is an emerging technology with the potential to identify plant species, delineate vegetation and habitat characteristics, differentiate causes of vegetation stress, and characterize soil properties. This technology can be used in range management as a tool to map various plant communities. Mapping of unpalatable rangeland species, such as yucca and tree cholla, using remote sensing data information for monitoring and managing rangeland for grazing livestock. The objectives of this study were to examine the characteristics of reflected light in the visible through infrared portion of the spectrum of yucca and tree cholla using airborne remote sensing with a remote sensing system that segments the spectrum into narrow wavelength bands (called hyperspectral remote sensing). The utility of hyperspectral remote sensing to identify and map individual tree cholla and yucca species in rangeland was tested. The spectral reflectance of both yucca and tree cholla recorded with an airborne hyperspectral system was different from the co-occurring green grass species throughout the visible and near infrared part of the spectrum. Areas or rangeland dominated by each species were correctly delineated from the areas occupied with green grass species. The ultimate goal work such as this is to develop a tool to assess rangeland health over broad geographic areas quickly and accurately as a tool for use in rangeland management programs.

Technical Abstract: Hyperspectral remote sensing is an emerging technology with the potential to identify plant species, delineate vegetation and habitat characteristics, differentiate causes of vegetation stress, and characterize soil properties. This technology can be used in range management as a tool to map various plant communities so as to determine current range production and utilization. Mapping of unpalatable rangeland species, such as yucca (Yucca glauca Nutt.) and tree cholla (Opuntia imbricata (Haw.) DC.), using hyperspectral data provides temporal and spatial information for monitoring and managing rangeland productivity for livestock utilization. The objectives of this study were to examine the spectral characteristics of yucca and tree cholla using an airborne hyperspectral spectrometer and to test hyperspectral one-meter-spatial-resolution remote sensing imageries for identifying and mapping individually distributed tree cholla and yucca species. The spectral reflectance of both yucca and tree cholla recorded with an airborne hyperspectral spectrometer was different from the co-occurring green grass species throughout the visible and near infrared spectrum. The classification results using a maximum likelihood procedure indicated that the dormant woody species were classified as yucca. A mixture of actively growing short grass species within tree cholla dominated areas were classified as tree cholla. However, areas dominated by each species within each rangeland were correctly delineated from the areas occupied with green grass species.

Last Modified: 11/24/2014
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