Date of Award:

2005

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Natural Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Geography

Advisor/Chair:

R. Douglas Ramsey

Abstract

The sagebrush shrub steppe ecosystem is of great concern to researchers, conservationists, and the general public because of the documented declines associated with it. Monitoring in the past has generally been point-based and lacking in long-term data. To overcome these deficiencies, an automated method of monitoring was developed using GIS and remote sensing.

Geospatial layers of vegetation, soils, fire history, roads, streams, and springs were acquired and processed to characterize selected monitoring locations. A temporal set of Landsat satellite imagery for the past 30 years was normalized to reduce the effects of sun angle, haze, and sensor change. After normalization, a Tasseled Cap Transformation was adapted with local coefficients to provide a landscape metric which was sensitive to actual ground conditions and meaningful at management level. The Tasseled Cap outputs of brightness and greenness are a relative measure of bare ground and plant productivity, respectively. When measured over time, brightness and greenness provided diagnostic trends and condition of treated big sagebrush communities

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