Submitted to: Workshop Color Aerial Photography & Videography in Plant Science Proceeding
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 30, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The expanse and inaccessibility of rangelands make them difficult to assess with conventional ground surveys. Improved techniques are needed to manage these areas. Remote sensing technology offers a quick and economically feasible means to obtain information on large areas. Over the past decade aerial video imaging systems have emerged as remote sensing tools because of the immediate imagery they provide and their lower costs. Color-infrare videography was used in conjunction with ground reflectance measurements to characterize two desert rangeland sites (desert grassland and mesquite dune sites) on the Jornada Experimental Range in southern New Mexico. Ground reflectance measurements showed significant differences among plant species and soil. Qualitative analyses of the video imaging showed that three major plant species cover types could be desert grassland site, whereas two cover types could be delineated on the mesquite dune site. Their finding should be of interest to range resource managers interested in using remote sensing techniques to manage rangelands.
Technical Abstract: The Jornada Experimental Range in southern New Mexico is the site of a long-term ecological research program to investigate the processes leading to desertification. This paper describes the light reflectance characteristics of dominant plant species and soil on two ecological sites on the Jornada (desert grassland and mesquite dune sites) and evaluates airborne color-infrared video imagery for distinguishing among vegetation types and soil at the two sites. Ground reflectance measurements showed significant differences among major plant species and soil at both sites. At the desert grassland site, black grama had lower near-infrared reflectance than the other plant species and soil. Honey mesquite had lower reflectance than the other species and soil at the mesquite dune site. Qualitative analyses of the video imagery showed that black grama and two additional species could be distinguished on the desert grassland site. Honey mesquite and broom snakeweed could be distinguished on the mesquite dune site. These results showed that remote sensing techniques can be useful to distinguish desert vegetation and soil.