Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/14/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Rangeland plant communities of the Intermountain region differ in their ecology and management requirements. Successful management of large land areas at plant community-level resolution first requires an efficient, cost-effective means of plant community classification and mapping. We evaluated the influence of image acquisition date and satellite imaging system on the accuracy of plant community maps generated from multispectral satellite imagery of Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (234 km2) in southwestern Idaho. Maps delineating 6 native and 2 non-native Intermountain plant communities were created from Landsat 5 TM and SPOT 3 HRV data using a maximum likelihood classification procedure. Map accuracy was assessed using ground reference points. Maps created from satellite data acquired during dry-down (early August) had higher overall accuracy ( = 70.5%) than from data acquired during peak growth (early June) ( = 54.4%). Overall accuracy of maps generated by Landsat ( = 60.1%) and SPOT ( = 65.5%) were statistically similar. The relatively high accuracies, broad spatial coverages (3,600 to 31,450 km2 scene-1, respectively), and moderate resolutions (20 to 30 m pixels, respectively) of the SPOT and Landsat satellite systems appear to be well-suited for mapping the distribution of Intermountain plant communities. Practical procedures for plant community mapping and map accuracy assessment are presented for use by natural resource managers.