Location: Northwest Watershed Research CenterTitle: Measuring vegetation characteristics in rangelands more accurately through the VegMeasure tool
|LOUHAICHI, MOUNIR - International Centre For Agricultural Research In The Dry Areas (ICARDA)|
|JOHNSON, DOUGLAS - Oregon State University|
|HASSAN, SAWSAN - International Centre For Agricultural Research In The Dry Areas (ICARDA)|
Submitted to: Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2022
Publication Date: 1/10/2022
Citation: Louhaichi, M., Johnson, D., Hassan, S., Clark, P. 2022. Measuring vegetation characteristics in rangelands more accurately through the VegMeasure tool. Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. https://doi.org/20.500.11766/66873.
Interpretive Summary: Vegetation cover is an important parameter in understanding ecosystem health and productivity, yet to continually measure vegetation cover at scale can be challenging, expensive and time-consuming but these data are needed to make good decisions about land management and usage. VegMeasure meets that challenge by providing a simple and rapid way to analyze changes to vegetation cover in the form of free-downloadable software that processes digital images of an ecosystem to identify the vegetation types and coverage therein. The tool is popular amongst researchers, development agencies and field technicians, particularly in rangeland areas where land managers need to make difficult decisions about how much grazing to allow in the context of livelihood needs, a fragile ecosystem and a changing climate.
Technical Abstract: VegMeasure is a computerised vegetation-management program. It uses image-processing software to process digital images which are collected in a standardized manner, to classify vegetation and measure changes over time. The tool was created by the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences at Oregon State University (OSU, USA) in collaboration with the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). The tool provides a scientifically sound method to monitor vegetation on natural and agronomic landscapes, which can be applied in a range of ecosystems and operated with only basic training. Monitoring vegetation cover is important because it helps land managers, land users and decision makers to understand the health of the ecosystems in which they operate – as well as the effects of human and natural impacts on those ecosystems over time. Historically, it has been difficult, expensive and time-consuming to acquire reliable data about vegetation cover and changes at a landscape level. With the readily accessible information that VegMeasure provides, managerial systems can be more easily, accurately, and safely evaluated for ecosystem health and long-term sustainability.