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Managing Western Rangelands with GIS and Remote Sensing
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  1. Managing Western Rangelands with GIS and Remote Sensing Keith T. Weber GIS Director Idaho State University

  2. Research Team • Sudhanshu Panda, Nancy Glenn, Matthew Germino, Scott Hughes, and Richard Inouye (ISU) • Steven Seefeldt and Bret Taylor (USSES) • Numerous grad students

  3. Acknowledgements • NASA • USDA ARS- USSES • USDI BLM

  4. What are Rangelands? • Typically semi-arid (brittle) • Grass and shrub dominated • Not cultivated, irrigated, or fertilized • Occupies 44% of Idaho

  5. Our Study Area

  6. A Brief History… • Land cover change study • Explore the primary agents of change • Weeds • Fire • Urbanization

  7. Issues • Invasive weeds • Wildfires • Desertification

  8. Our Role to Managers • Decision support tools • Predictive models • Public outreach to decision makers • Increase understanding

  9. Issue #1- Target Weed Species • Cheatgrass • Interesting species • Brief life history • Leafy Spurge

  10. Current results • Cheatgrass is difficult to detect reliably • Detection threshold • Patchy target • Similar to non-target features • We have used Landsat, SPOT, and Quickbird imagery.

  11. Patchy Target

  12. Spectral Similarity

  13. Issue #2, Wildfire • Reliable fuel load modeling • Current rangeland fire severity modeling

  14. Issue #3, Desertification • For land managers and land stewards… • Bio-diversity issue • Why is this weed here? • What are we to do about high fuel loads? • What can we do about the exposed soils?

  15. Holistic Integration • Symptoms of degraded rangeland health • Loss of bio-diversity • Weeds • Bare ground • Ineffective water cycles with exacerbated drought effects • We have studied the symptoms…now let’s move to the cause.

  16. Why are the Rangelands Degraded? • It appears to be… • Years of over-rest • Following years of over-grazing of plants • Why? • Grasses evolved with grazing • Grazed once in a season….not numerous times • Animal impact is important • Hoof action • Look at corral areas in the study area

  17. Quantifying Rangeland Health: Modeling

  18. Importance of Rangeland Health Modeling and Forecasting • Big picture • Addresses end-user core concerns • Reliable models possible

  19. Thank You • For more information visit our Internet Map Server at: • http://giscenter-ims.isu.edu/ website/rangelands/viewer.htm • Or visit our home page http://giscenter.isu.edu