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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Northwest Watershed Research Center » Research » Research Project #441020

Research Project: Developing UAS Remote Sensing Data Processing Tools for Rangeland Assessment

Location: Northwest Watershed Research Center

Project Number: 2052-21500-001-004-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 30, 2021
End Date: Sep 30, 2024

Develop and evaluate data processing tools and approaches for quantifying vegetation and ground cover from UAS drone acquired remote sensing platforms.

Field test plots, each 100 square meters (m2) in size, have been established and monitored for the past three years in each of 3 sagebrush dominated plant community types in Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed. All plots were sampled using standard field techniques for canopy cover, ground cover, and canopy and basal gap during several stages of phenological development. Allometric measurements were collected for shrubs during peak production. A subsample of these shrubs, stratified by species and size class, have been identified and permanently marked for biomass harvest after the completion of remote-sensing data collection. An unmanned aerial system (UAS) was used to collect remote sensing data every two weeks at each field site from start of growth to complete senescence. Tools and procedures will be developed to process the UAS imagery using available software applications and HPC resources and then tested against field collected measures.