Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 29, 2009
Publication Date: N/A
Rangelands are a type of land cover dominated by grasses, grass-like plants, forbs, and shrubs, where the land is managed as a natural ecosystem for multiple uses including wildlife habitat, biodiversity, recreation, and grazing by livestock. The area cover by rangelands is 48.2% of the land surface based on the latest NASA MODIS land cover product, so remote sensing is required for monitoring and managing rangeland resources in a cost effective manner. Rangeland productivity and the occurrence of invasive weeds are two aspects of rangeland health that can be measured by satellites. Current work is focused on using very-large scale photography to determine ecological states and imaging spectroscopy for determining forage quality. AVHRR NDVI is being used in a pilot program by the USDA Risk Management Agency as a means to manage risk from drought. Use of rangeland productivity may provide a better method to estimate economic losses due to drought for pasture, range and forage insurance through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.