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  • 1
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: landscape characterization ; remote sensing ; change detection ; regional vulnerability ; accuracy assessment ; San Pedro River
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract Vegetation change in the American West has been a subject of concern throughout the twentieth century. Although many of the changes have been recorded qualitatively through the use of comparative photography and historical reports, little quantitative information has been available on the regional or watershed scale. It is currently possible to measure change over large areas and determine trends in ecological and hydrological condition using advanced space-based technologies. Specifically, this process is being tested in a community-based watershed in southeast Arizona and northeast Sonora, Mexico using a system of landscape pattern measurements derived from satellite remote sensing, spatial statistics, process modeling, and geographic information systems technology. These technologies provide the basis for developing landscape composition and pattern indicators as sensitive measures of large-scale environmental change and thus may provide an effective and economical method for evaluating watershed condition related to disturbance from human and natural stresses. The project utilizes the database from the North American Landscape Characterization (NALC) project which incorporates triplicate Landsat Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS) imagery from the early 1970s, mid 1980s, and the 1990s. Landscape composition and pattern metrics have been generated from digital land cover maps derived from the NALC images and compared across a nearly 20-year period. Results about changes in land cover for the study period indicate that extensive, highly connected grassland and desertscrub areas are the most vulnerable ecosystems to fragmentation and actual loss due to encroachment of xerophytic mesquite woodland. In the study period, grasslands and desertscrub not only decreased in extent but also became more fragmented. That is, the number of grassland and desertscrub patches increased and their average patch sizes decreased. In stark contrast, the mesquite woodland patches increased in size, number, and connectivity. These changes have important impact for the hydrology of the region, since the energy and water balance characteristics for these cover types are significantly different. The process demonstrates a simple procedure to document changes and determine ecosystem vulnerabilities through the use of change detection and indicator development, especially in regard to traditional degradation processes that have occurred throughout the western rangelands involving changes of vegetative cover and acceleration of water and wind erosion.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019
    Description: Abstract While the scientific community has long recognized that alluvial rivers are the product of interactions between flowing water and bed material transport, it is increasingly evident that vegetation mediates these interactions and influences the stream channel characteristics. In a novel set of mobile bed laboratory experiments with variable discharge, we demonstrate that vegetation colonization affects bank erosion rates, channel shape, channel sinuosity, and bar pattern. Our analyses compared the morphological evolution of channels with initially steady bars considering the following three scenarios: (1) channel without vegetation, (2) channel with vegetation added to the floodplains, and (3) channel with vegetation added to both the floodplains and the bar surfaces that emerge at low flows. Absence of vegetation produced the widest and shallowest channel with the lowest sinuosity. Floodplain vegetation in the second scenario reduced bank erosion and resulted in a deeper and more sinuous channel with shorter bars. In the third scenario, vegetation establishment on emerging bar surfaces intensified erosion on the opposing bank, enlarging the amplitude of bends. Enhanced sedimentation on vegetated bar areas increased both bar elevation and bar length compared to the second scenario. The results show that the colonization of bar surfaces by plants creates the conditions for new floodplain and island formation, fostering channel meandering and anabranching. Finally, our experiments emphasize the role of alternating high and low flows on the morphological development of streams mediated by vegetation.
    Print ISSN: 2169-9003
    Electronic ISSN: 2169-9011
    Topics: Geosciences , Physics
    Published by Wiley on behalf of American Geophysical Union (AGU).
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  • 3
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