Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

An approach for characterizing the distribution of shrubland ecosystem components as continuous fields as part of NLCD

December 1, 2013

Characterizing and quantifying distributions of shrubland ecosystem components is one of the major challenges for monitoring shrubland vegetation cover change across the United States. A new approach has been developed to quantify shrubland components as fractional products within National Land Cover Database (NLCD). This approach uses remote sensing data and regression tree models to estimate the fractional cover of shrubland ecosystem components. The approach consists of three major steps: field data collection, high resolution estimates of shrubland ecosystem components using WorldView-2 imagery, and coarse resolution estimates of these components across larger areas using Landsat imagery. This research seeks to explore this method to quantify shrubland ecosystem components as continuous fields in regions that contain wide-ranging shrubland ecosystems. Fractional cover of four shrubland ecosystem components, including bare ground, herbaceous, litter, and shrub, as well as shrub heights, were delineated in three ecological regions in Arizona, Florida, and Texas. Results show that estimates for most components have relatively small normalized root mean square errors and significant correlations with validation data in both Arizona and Texas. The distribution patterns of shrub height also show relatively high accuracies in these two areas. The fractional cover estimates of shrubland components, except for litter, are not well represented in the Florida site. The research results suggest that this method provides good potential to effectively characterize shrubland ecosystem conditions over perennial shrubland although it is less effective in transitional shrubland. The fractional cover of shrub components as continuous elements could offer valuable information to quantify biomass and help improve thematic land cover classification in arid and semiarid areas.

Publication Year 2013
Title An approach for characterizing the distribution of shrubland ecosystem components as continuous fields as part of NLCD
DOI 10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2013.09.009
Authors George Z. Xian, Collin G. Homer, Debbie Meyer, Brian J. Granneman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Index ID 70187704
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center