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Analysis of vegetation recovery surrounding a restored wetland using the normalized difference infrared index (NDII) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)

February 16, 2018

Watershed restoration efforts seek to rejuvenate vegetation, biological diversity, and land productivity at Cienega San Bernardino, an important wetland in southeastern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico. Rock detention and earthen berm structures were built on the Cienega San Bernardino over the course of four decades, beginning in 1984 and continuing to the present. Previous research findings show that restoration supports and even increases vegetation health despite ongoing drought conditions in this arid watershed. However, the extent of restoration impacts is still unknown despite qualitative observations of improvement in surrounding vegetation amount and vigor. We analyzed spatial and temporal trends in vegetation greenness and soil moisture by applying the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and normalized difference infrared index (NDII) to one dry summer season Landsat path/row from 1984 to 2016. The study area was divided into zones and spectral data for each zone was analyzed and compared with precipitation record using statistical measures including linear regression, Mann– Kendall test, and linear correlation. NDVI and NDII performed differently due to the presence of continued grazing and the effects of grazing on canopy cover; NDVI was better able to track changes in vegetation in areas without grazing while NDII was better at tracking changes in areas with continued grazing. Restoration impacts display higher greenness and vegetation water content levels, greater increases in greenness and water content through time, and a decoupling of vegetation greenness and water content from spring precipitation when compared to control sites in nearby tributary and upland areas. Our results confirm the potential of erosion control structures to affect areas up to 5 km downstream of restoration sites over time and to affect 1 km upstream of the sites.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2018
Title Analysis of vegetation recovery surrounding a restored wetland using the normalized difference infrared index (NDII) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)
DOI 10.1080/01431161.2018.1437297
Authors Natalie R. Wilson, Laura Norman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title International Journal of Remote Sensing
Series Number
Index ID 70195463
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Geographic Science Center