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Mapping tree damage caused by extreme drought and heat using a remote sensing approach

Brouwers, N.C., Van Dongen, R., Matusick, G., Strelein, G. and Hardy, G. (2012) Mapping tree damage caused by extreme drought and heat using a remote sensing approach. In: Ecological Society of Australia, Annual Conference, 3 - 7 December, Melbourne, Australia.


Background/question/methods: Forest ecosystems and dominant tree species have increasingly showed signs of decline around the world related to changes in climate. The south-west of Western Australia (SWWA) has been no exception. In 2010 and early 2011, the SWWA received 50% less rainfall compared to the long-term average, and experienced multiple heatwaves resulting in localised tree crown dieback in the Northern Jarrah Forest region. Indicating (and predicting) where in the landscape the declines occurred is important to adequately direct management resources and inform future planning. This research reports on efforts undertaken to accurately map the areas where damage occurred using a remote sensing approach. Multiple maps were produced indicating affected areas based on changes in foliage ‘greenness’ using two Landsat TM scenes captured at different dates. A sensitivity analysis of the adopted remote sensing approach and an accuracy assessment was performed using ground validation data.

Results/conclusions: Four change maps were produced using different scene combinations and ‘greenness’ indexes. The preliminary results indicate that: (i) the adopted remote sensing approach shows good potential for accurately mapping the affected areas, and (ii) NDVI is a good ‘greenness’ index to use in this process. More work is currently under way and the results will be presented.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre of Excellence for Climate Change and Forest and Woodland Health
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