Mosses and lichens are important components of boreal landscapes [Vitt et al., 1994; Bubier et al., 1997]. They affect plant productivity and belowground carbon sequestration and alter the surface runoff and energy balance. We report the use of multiresolution satellite data to map moss and lichens over the BOREAS region at a 10 m, 30 m, and 1 km scales. Our moss and lichen classification at the 10 m scale is based on ground observations of associations among soil drainage classes, overstory composition, and cover type among four broad classes of ground cover (feather, sphagnum, and brown mosses and lichens). For our 30 m map, we used field observations of ground cover-overstory associations to map mosses and lichens in the BOREAS southern study area (SSA). To scale up to a 1 km (AVHRR) moss map of the BOREAS region, we used the TM SSA mosaics plus regional field data to identify AVHRR overstory-ground cover associations. We found that: 1) ground cover, overstory composition and density are highly correlated, permitting inference of moss and lichen cover from satellite-based land cover classifications; 2) our 1 km moss map reveals that mosses dominate the boreal landscape of central Canada, thereby a significant factor for water, energy, and carbon modeling; 3) TM and AVHRR moss cover maps are comparable; 4) satellite data resolution is important; particularly in detecting the smaller wetland features, lakes, and upland jack pine sites; and 5) distinct regional patterns of moss and lichen cover correspond to latitudinal and elevational gradients. Copyright 2001 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Moss and lichen cover mapping at local and regional scales in the boreal forest ecosystem of central Canada