Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: HYDROLOGIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF CONSERVATION PRACTICES IN OKLAHOMA AGRICULTURAL WATERSHEDS

Location: Great Plains Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research Unit

Title: Estimating eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana L.) biomass using satellite imagery

Authors
item Starks, Patrick
item Venuto, Bradley
item Eckroat, John -

Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 12, 2010
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Citation: Starks, P.J., Venuto, B.C., Eckroat, J.A. 2011. Estimating eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana L.) biomass using satellite imagery. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 64(2):178-186.

Interpretive Summary: Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana L), is an aggressively spreading native species in Oklahoma grasslands, which decreases rangeland productivity and land value, increases fire hazard, and has been implicated in reducing stream flow and ground water recharge. Companies are considering large investments for industrial-scale plants to use redcedar as a biofuel. Optimal placement of any redcedar-based industry will require a method of determining redcedar location and/or biomass availability at landscape scales. Such large area inventories of redcedar biomass can only be practically addressed via aircraft or satellite remote sensing. A study was conducted in western Oklahoma investigating the use of QuickBird satellite data to develop equations relating canopy area to above ground biomass (AGB). QuickBird provide high spatial resolution images and was deemed necessary to the study due to the fact that canopy area was quite variable across the study sites and some “small” trees would not be detectable by satellite having lower spatial resolution. Previous research indicated that individual tree canopy coverage was an accurate indicator of individual tree biomass. Predictive equations were developed relating satellite estimates of individual tree canopy area and canopy coverage (total canopy area per unit ground area) to AGB. The equation was then applied to NRCS estimates of redcedar canopy coverage for 17 counties in Oklahoma, yielding an average of about 11.5 million metric tons of redcedar AGB. These results indicate that high spatial resolution satellite imagery can be a useful tool for rapid and reliable redcedar biomass assessment.

Technical Abstract: Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana L), is an aggressively spreading native species in Oklahoma grasslands, which decreases rangeland productivity and land value, increases fire hazard, and has been implicated in reducing stream flow and ground water recharge. Companies are considering large investments for industrial-scale plants to use redcedar as a biofuel. Optimal placement of any redcedar-based industry will require a method of determining redcedar location and/or biomass availability at landscape scales. Such large area inventories of redcedar biomass can only be practically addressed via aircraft or satellite remote sensing. A study was conducted in western Oklahoma investigating the use of QuickBird hyperspatial, multispectral data to develop allometric equations relating canopy area to above ground biomass (AGB). Hyperspatial data was necessary due to the fact that canopy area was quite variable across the study sites and some “small” trees would not be detectable by coarse spatial resolution satellite. Previous research indicated that individual tree canopy coverage was an accurate indicator of individual tree biomass. Predictive allometric equations were developed relating satellite estimates of individual tree canopy area and canopy coverage (total canopy area per unit ground area) to AGB (r2 = 0.87). The allometric equation was then applied to NRCS estimates of redcedar canopy coverage for 17 counties in Oklahoma, yielding an average of about 11.5 million metric tons of redcedar AGB. These results indicate that high spatial resolution multispectral imagery can be a useful tool for rapid and reliable redcedar biomass assessment.

Last Modified: 4/21/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page