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  • remote sensing  (10)
  • 1
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: desertification assessment ; GIS ; integrated models ; land degradation ; remote sensing
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract Desertification has been defined as land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities (United Nations, 1992). A technique for identifying and assessing areas at risk fordesertification in the arid, semi-arid, and subhumid regionsof the United States was developed by the Desert Research Institute and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), using selected environmental indicators integrated into a Geographic Information System (GIS). Five indicators were selected: potential erosion, grazing pressure, climatic stress (expressed as a function of changesin the Palmer Drought Severity Index [PDSI]), change invegetation greenness (derived from the Normalized DifferenceVegetation Index [NDVI]), and weedy invasives as a percentof total plant cover. The data were integrated over aregional geographic setting using a GIS, which facilitateddata display, development and exploration of data relationships, including manipulation and simulation testing. By combining all five data layers, landscapes having a varying risk for land degradation were identified, providing a tool which could be used to improve landmanagement efficiency.
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: air pollution ; GIS ; lichens ; remote sensing ; SO2 ; terrestrial ecosystems
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract Transboundary air pollution from industries in Nikel and Zapolyarnij has caused severe damage to the environment in Southern-Varanger in Norway and in Pechenga municipality in Russia. The work presented in this paper focuses on the integration of in-situ air pollution data with remote sensing based land cover maps. Land cover maps have been utilised to detect changes in the major land cover types within the area. The major change in the environment was the decrease of the sensitive lichen-dominated land cover types, and the increase of bilberry-dominated land cover types and finally the increase of the land cover types with the greatest air pollution stress (industrial barren, barren, and partly damaged vegetation, defoliated forests, lichen removal). A GIS based method for assessing the relationship of the remotely sensed land cover maps with the environmental condition parameters was developed and applied. By comparing the results from this analysis we observed that the land cover types with the greatest stress had the largest concentrations of SO2 in the ground air layer, while the land cover types with minor damage (the remaining lichen-dominated vegetation) had rather low concentrations of sulphur dioxide in the ground air layer. The area of the land cover types with the greatest stress (industrial barren, barren and partly damaged vegetation) has increased in the period 1973–1988, and the degradation is carried out in a such manner that sensitive mountain and lichen vegetation formations have been transformed into a more barren-like environment. The increase in the emissions has also transferred the natural barrens which also consisted of some sparse vegetation into a complete barren with little vegetation left. Also the epilitic lichens and mosses on bare rocks and stones were also removed by the high concentrations of SO2. The land cover types with minor damage (with the remaining lichen-dominated vegetation) had rather low concentrations of the contaminants (SO2, Ni and S), while the partly damaged and damaged land cover types had the highest concentrations of the contaminants. An exception was the Ni and S concentrations found in class 11 Industrial barrens which were lower than expected. Associations between the degradation and the SO2 concentration in the air were also documented. The conclusion from this analysis is that the in-situ data support the observations of damaged vegetation and industrial barrens imaged by the Landsat satellites, especially in the surroundings of Nikel and Zapolyarnij.
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: GIS ; multitemporal analysis ; NDVI ; rangelandcondition ; remote sensing
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract Coarse-scale, multitemporal satellite image data were evaluated as a tool for detecting variation in vegetation productivity, as a potential indicator of change in rangeland condition in the western U.S. The conterminous U.S. Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) biweekly composite data set was employed using the six-year time series 1989–1994. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) image bands for the state of New Mexico were imported into a Geographic Information System (GIS) for analysis with other spatial data sets. Averaged NDVI was calculated for each year, and a series of regression analyses were performed using one year as the baseline. Residuals from the regression line indicated 14 significant areas of NDVI change: two with lower NDVI, and 11 with higher NDVI. Rangeland management changes, cross-country military training activities, and increases in irrigated cropland were among the identified causes of change.
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  • 4
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: landscape assessment ; landscape indicators ; remote sensing ; ecological change detection
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract A group of landscape ecological indicators were applied to biophysical data masked to the Tensas River Basin. The indicators were used to identify and prioritize sources of nutrients in a Mississippi/Atchafalaya River System sub-basin. Remotely sensed data were used for change detection assessment. With these methods, we were able to look at land use practices over the past twenty years in the Tensas River Basin of Louisiana. A simple land use classification was applied to multispectral scanner (MSS) data from 1972 and 1991. The landscape analysis methods described in this paper will show how to use these methods to assess the impact of human land use practices that are being implemented to improve environmental quality. Landscape assessment methods can be used as a simple, timely, cost effective approach for monitoring, targeting, and modeling ecosystem health in watersheds. Although this study was conducted in the southeast, the methods described in this paper may be applicable to western landscapes.
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  • 5
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: aerial videography ; ecological indicators ; landscape ecology ; monitoring techniques ; remote sensing ; tropical savannas
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract If the goal for managing rangelands is to achieve a balance between production and conservation, then monitoring is essential to detect change and apply corrective action. In some range-land areas of northern Australia, monitoring has detected a tilt in the production-conservation balance towards excessive production. How big is this imbalance? Can it shift back? Robust monitoring is needed to answer these questions. The aim is to know what to monitor, and where. For example, to detect changes caused by livestock on rangeland forage production and soil erosion, indicators linking grazing disturbances to landscape function are needed, that is, indicators that signal how well landscapes are capturing, concentrating, and utilizing scarce water, nutrient, and organic resources. Studies in Australia and the USA document that simple vegetation and soil patch attributes can be measured as indicators of the 'state of health' of landscape function. For example, field and remote sensing-based grazing studies in Australia document that landscapes with a high cover of perennial plant patches function effectively to capture runoff water and nutrients in sediments, whereas landscapes with a low cover of these patches do not — they are dysfunctional — as indicated by large patches of bare soil. Aerial videography is proving to be a robust technique for measuring indicators of landscape function such as small patches of vegetation and the extent of bare soil. These indicators typically have a sigmoidal response to grazing impacts. We illustrate that if these indicators are measured on monitoring sites established near the sigmoidal 'point of inflection’ then small changes in these indicators can be detected.
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  • 6
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: integration of optical and microwave data ; land use classification ; remote sensing ; SIR-C/X-SAR
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract An agricultural land use classification of Oltrepo' Pavese region (in Northern Italy) is performed through integration of remote sensing data from optical and radar sensors. The source of optical data was a Landsat-TM image acquired on April 1994, while the source of microwave data was a contemporaneous image of the new radar sensor SIR-C/X-SAR which was flown on-board the Space Shuttle during an experimental mission over the chosen test site. Then, they were combined through calculation of the principal components of the multidimensional data sets and a final classification was carried out and compared with the classifications obtained from optical and radar recordings separately. Results showed remarkable improvement in the classification accuracy of seedbeds and uncultivated fields with radar recordings and of herbaceous crop type with integrated data. Potential ability of a multi-sensor classification and limits of a single-temporal approach are discussed.
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  • 7
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: Soil and water retention ; bare patch size ; percent bare soil ; grass ; shrub ; remote sensing
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract The most important function of watersheds in the western U.S. is the capacity to retain soil and water, thereby providing stability in hydrologic head and minimizing stream sediment loads. Long-term soil and water retention varies directly with vegetation cover. Data on ground cover and plant species composition were collected from 129 sites in the Rio Grande drainage of south-central New Mexico. This area was previously assessed by classification of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometry (AVHRR) imagery. The classification of irreversibly degraded sites failed to identify most of the severely degraded sites based on size of bare patches and 35% of the sites classified as degraded were healthy based on mean bare patch size and vegetation cover. Previous research showed that an index of unvegetated soil (bare patch size and percent of ground without vegetative cover) was the most robust indicator of the soil and water retention function. Although the regression of mean bare patch size on percent bare ground was significant (p 〈 0.001), percent bare ground accounted for only 11% of the variability in bare patch size. Therefore bare patch size cannot be estimated from data on percent bare ground derived from remote sensing. At sites with less than 25% grass cover, and on sites with more than 15% shrub cover, there were significant relationships between percent bare soil and mean bare patch size (p 〈 0.05). Several other indicators of ecosystem health were related to mean bare patch size: perennial plant species richness (r = 0.6, p 〈 0.0001), percent cover of increaser species (r = 0.5, p 〈 0.0001) and percent cover of forage useable by livestock (r = 0.62, p 〈 0.0001). There was no relationship between bare patch size and cover of species that are toxic to livestock. In order to assess the ability of western rangeland watersheds to retain soil and water using remote sensing, it will be necessary to detect and estimate sizes of bare patches ranging between at least 0.5 m in diameter to several meters in diameter.
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  • 8
    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.
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  • 9
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: biodiversity ; butterflies ; birds ; climate change ; montane vegetation ; remote sensing ; Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract We used a time series of satellite multispectral imagery for mapping and monitoring six classes of montane meadows arrayed along a moisture gradient (from hydric to mesic to xeric). We hypothesized that mesic meadows would support the highest species diversity of plants, birds, and butterflies because they are more moderate environments. We also hypothesized that mesic meadows would exhibit the greatest seasonal and interannual variability in spectral response across years. Field sampling in each of the meadow types was conducted for plants, birds, and butterflies in 1997 and 1998. Mesic meadows supported the highest plant species diversity, but there was no significant difference in bird or butterfly species diversity among meadow types. These data show that it may be easier to detect significant differences in more species rich taxa (e.g., plants) than taxa that are represented by fewer species (e.g., butterflies and birds). Mesic meadows also showed the greatest seasonal and interannual variability in spectral response. Given the rich biodiversity of mesic montane meadows and their sensitivity to variations in temperature and moisture, they may be important to monitor in the context of environmental change
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  • 10
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: climate change ; coastal erosion ; GIS ; Mediterranean coast ; Nile delta ; remote sensing
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract An assessment of the impact of sea level rise on the city of Port Said, Egypt has been carried out using remote sensing and GIS techniques. Bruun's is used to estimate horizontal retreat, due to three scenarios of sea level rise, taking into account local subsidence rates. Overlaying horizontal retreat on land use obtained by remote sensing enabled us to estimate possible losses and socio-economic impacts. Results indicate serious physical and socio-economic impacts. It is suggested that protection measures must be carried out with emphasis on building breakwaters along the most vulnerable shoreline area.
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