Extending a field-based Sonoran desert vegetation classification to a regional scale using optical and microwave satellite imagery
AuthorShupe, Scott Marshall
AdvisorMarsh, Stuart E.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractVegetation mapping in and regions facilitates ecological studies, land management, and provides a record to which future land changes can be compared. Accurate and representative mapping of desert vegetation requires a sound field sampling program and a methodology to transform the data collected into a representative classification system. Time and cost constraints require that a remote sensing approach be used if such a classification system is to be applied on a regional scale. However, desert vegetation may be sparse and thus difficult to sense at typical satellite resolutions, especially given the problem of soil reflectance. This study was designed to address these concerns by conducting vegetation mapping research using field and satellite data from the US Army Yuma Proving Ground (USYPG) in Southwest Arizona. Line and belt transect data from the Army's Land Condition Trend Analysis (LCTA) Program were transformed into relative cover and relative density classification schemes using cluster analysis. Ordination analysis of the same data produced two and three-dimensional graphs on which the homogeneity of each vegetation class could be examined. It was found that the use of correspondence analysis (CA), detrended correspondence analysis (DCA), and non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMS) ordination methods was superior to the use of any single ordination method for helping to clarify between-class and within-class relationships in vegetation composition. Analysis of these between-class and within-class relationships were of key importance in examining how well relative cover and relative density schemes characterize the USYPG vegetation. Using these two classification schemes as reference data, maximum likelihood and artificial neural net classifications were then performed on a coregistered dataset consisting of a summer Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) image, one spring and one summer ERS-1 microwave image, and elevation, slope, and aspect layers. Classifications using a combination of ERS-1 imagery and elevation, slope, and aspect data were superior to classifications carried out using Landsat TM data alone. In all classification iterations it was consistently found that the highest classification accuracy was obtained by using a combination of Landsat TM, ERS-1, and elevation, slope, and aspect data. Maximum likelihood classification accuracy was found to be higher than artificial neural net classification in all cases.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Renewable Natural Resources