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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Watershed Management Research » Research » Research Project #435079

Research Project: Developing Remote Sensing Tools for Rangeland Vegetation Inventory and Assessment

Location: Watershed Management Research

Project Number: 2052-13610-013-12-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 13, 2018
End Date: Sep 30, 2020

Objective:
Develop and evaluate remote-sensing tools and approaches for quantifying fine-scale vegetation height and structure.

Approach:
Field test plots, each 100 square meters (m2) in size, will be established in each of 3 plant community types: i) intact Wyoming big sagebrush with native species components, ii) disturbed Wyoming big sagebrush with cheatgrass-dominated herb layer, iii) introduced annual grassland dominated by cheatgrass. All plots will be sampled using standard field techniques for canopy cover, ground cover, and canopy and basal gap during several stages of phenological development. Allometric measurements will be collected for shrubs during peak production. A subsample of these shrubs, stratified by species and size class, will be identified and permanently marked for biomass harvest after the completion of remote-sensing data collection. An unmanned aerial system (UAS) will be used to collect Structure for Motion (SfM) derived vegetation height and structural estimates that will be evaluated against a standard of structural models derived using Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) data acquired at multiple viewpoints and collected field data.