This is a part of the 2015 Fall VPS. For more VPS articles, click here
Category:åÊMonitoring Change for Resource Management
Project Team: Colorado Agriculture
Team Location: USGS at Colorado State University ÛÒ Fort Collins, Colorado
Dr. Paul Evangelista (Natural Resources Ecology Lab, CSU)
Tony Vorster (Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies)
State and national forests are actively managed for a variety of objectives including timber, recreation, wildlife, and livestock grazing. In Colorado, concerns about potential fire severity, aesthetics, and falling dead trees, as a result of the recent mountain pine beetle epidemic, are shared by our partners at Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) and communities across the Rocky Mountain region. In addition, the Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies (BANR) is assessing the feasibility of using beetle-kill wood as a source of biofuels. These diverse objectives and concerns highlight the need for current and accurate species composition maps to inform management decisions. Past species composition mapping has shown gaps in the ability to accurately highlight individual species at a fine scale over large forested landscapes, and these maps remain relatively coarse in terms of resolution and their usefulness to forest managers. This project utilizes scenes from Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager, Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus, and Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper, National Agriculture Imagery Program imagery, forest survey data, and an integrative model developed by researchers at Montana State University in order to create a detailed and highly accurate map of species composition in the Colorado State Forest State Park. Using this combined methodology, this project produced species composition maps for dominant species in Colorado State Forest, including lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa), Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii), and aspen (Populus tremuloides).