Characterization of shrubland ecosystem components as continuous fields in the northwest United States

Remote Sensing of Environment
By: , and 



Accurate and consistent estimates of shrubland ecosystem components are crucial to a better understanding of ecosystem conditions in arid and semiarid lands. An innovative approach was developed by integrating multiple sources of information to quantify shrubland components as continuous field products within the National Land Cover Database (NLCD). The approach consists of several procedures including field sample collections, high-resolution mapping of shrubland components using WorldView-2 imagery and regression tree models, Landsat 8 radiometric balancing and phenological mosaicking, medium resolution estimates of shrubland components following different climate zones using Landsat 8 phenological mosaics and regression tree models, and product validation. Fractional covers of nine shrubland components were estimated: annual herbaceous, bare ground, big sagebrush, herbaceous, litter, sagebrush, shrub, sagebrush height, and shrub height. Our study area included the footprint of six Landsat 8 scenes in the northwestern United States. Results show that most components have relatively significant correlations with validation data, have small normalized root mean square errors, and correspond well with expected ecological gradients. While some uncertainties remain with height estimates, the model formulated in this study provides a cross-validated, unbiased, and cost effective approach to quantify shrubland components at a regional scale and advances knowledge of horizontal and vertical variability of these components.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Characterization of shrubland ecosystem components as continuous fields in the northwest United States
Series title Remote Sensing of Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.rse.2015.07.014
Volume 168
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 15 p.
First page 286
Last page 300
Country United States
State California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon
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