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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Digital Imagery and Landscape-Scale Rangeland Monitoring

Authors
item Taylor, Joshua
item Booth, D
item Moffet, Corey

Submitted to: Western Section of Animal Science Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 27, 2006
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Monitoring is critical when manipulating rangeland ecosystems toward a desired goal. Unfortunately, cost and(or) logistics may limit a rangeland manager’s choice of monitoring tools. Ultimately, such tools must be affordable and provide rapid, accurate, and precise information that can be used to determine the status and effectiveness of management strategies. In October 2005, USDA-ARS scientists from the High Plains Grasslands Research Station (Cheyenne, WY) and the U. S. Sheep Experiment Station (USSES; Dubois, ID) hosted a rangeland monitoring workshop titled “Successfully Using Digital Imagery and Vegetation Analysis Software.” The workshop goals were to demonstrate the use of and to transfer digital imagery technologies that enable rangeland managers to obtain meaningful data quickly and efficiently on a landscape-size scale. In attendance, were field technicians and regional administrators from the USDA-Forest Service, Department of Interior-(DOI) Bureau of Land Management, DOI-U. S. Fish and Wildlife; state and local coordinators of weed management cooperatives in Montana and Idaho; and range technicians from Montana State University. The ARS scientists discussed the use of high-resolution digital imagery, obtained on the ground or from a fixed-winged aircraft, combined with various vegetation-measurement software packages to determine 1) vegetation response to fire, grazing, and herbicide treatments, 2) herbivore selectivity, and 3) distribution of exotic weeds across extensive landscapes. Both in the classroom and field, these technologies were demonstrated to be quickly applied and generate data that can 1) represent large and small landscapes, 2) be analyzed immediately or during the off-season, and 3) be stored for an indefinite period of time without loss of quality. Vegetation analysis software (freeware), technology instruction bulletins, validation literature, and contact support information were given to the participants.

Technical Abstract: Monitoring is critical when manipulating rangeland ecosystems toward a desired goal. Unfortunately, cost and(or) logistics may limit a rangeland manager’s choice of monitoring tools. Ultimately, such tools must be affordable and provide rapid, accurate, and precise information that can be used to determine the status and effectiveness of management strategies. In October 2005, USDA-ARS scientists from the High Plains Grasslands Research Station (Cheyenne, WY) and the U. S. Sheep Experiment Station (USSES; Dubois, ID) hosted a rangeland monitoring workshop titled “Successfully Using Digital Imagery and Vegetation Analysis Software.” The workshop goals were to demonstrate the use of and to transfer digital imagery technologies that enable rangeland managers to obtain meaningful data quickly and efficiently on a landscape-size scale. In attendance, were field technicians and regional administrators from the USDA-Forest Service, Department of Interior-(DOI) Bureau of Land Management, DOI-U. S. Fish and Wildlife; state and local coordinators of weed management cooperatives in Montana and Idaho; and range technicians from Montana State University. The ARS scientists discussed the use of high-resolution digital imagery, obtained on the ground or from a fixed-winged aircraft, combined with various vegetation-measurement software packages to determine 1) vegetation response to fire, grazing, and herbicide treatments, 2) herbivore selectivity, and 3) distribution of exotic weeds across extensive landscapes. Both in the classroom and field, these technologies were demonstrated to be quickly applied and generate data that can 1) represent large and small landscapes, 2) be analyzed immediately or during the off-season, and 3) be stored for an indefinite period of time without loss of quality. Vegetation analysis software (freeware), technology instruction bulletins, validation literature, and contact support information were given to the participants.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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