Saturday, April 24, 2010

WyomingView interns highlight the utility of Landsat data for vegetation monitoring

Paul Arendt (BA Geography) assessed damages to conifer trees in the Sierra Madre Mountains of the Medicine Bow National Forest using Normalized Vegetation Difference Index (NDVI), and other vegetation indices such as straight ratios. Combining aerial survey data collected by the US Forest Service with Landsat images acquired during and prior to each survey year he calculated the magnitude of change in NDVI and other indices across different elevation ranges, and damage size categories.

Karley Shepperson (BS Rangeland Ecology & Watershed Management) tested whether Landsat data can distinguish sites infested with cheatgrass from those with native vegetation.  Four sites infested with cheatgrass and another four native vegetation sites were selected for this study.  Further she monitored changes in the reflectance pattern of these two sites during the course of the growing season (April through August) and concluded that images acquired in April and May showed maximum differences between the native vegetation and cheatgrass infested sites.

They presented their work in the Undergraduate Research Day on 24 April 2010.