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Mapping Tamarix : New techniques for field measurements, spatial modeling and remote sensing

Evangelista, Paul H.

Titre : Mapping Tamarix : New techniques for field measurements, spatial modeling and remote sensing

Auteur : Evangelista, Paul H.

Université de soutenance : COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2009

Native riparian ecosystems throughout the southwestern United States are being altered by the rapid invasion of Tamarix species, commonly known as tamarisk. The effects that tamarisk has on ecosystem processes have been poorly quantified largely due to inadequate survey methods. I tested new approaches for field measurements, spatial models and remote sensing to improve our ability measure and to map tamarisk occurrence, and provide new methods that will assist in management and control efforts. Examining allometric relationships between basal cover and height measurements collected in the field, I was able to produce several models to accurately estimate aboveground biomass. The best two models were explained 97% of the variance (R 2 = 0.97). Next, I tested five commonly used predictive spatial models to identify which methods performed best for tamarisk using different types of data collected in the field. Most spatial models performed well for tamarisk, with logistic regression performing best with an Area Under the receiver-operating characteristic Curve (AUC) of 0.89 and overall accuracy of 85%. The results of this study also suggested that models may not perform equally with different invasive species, and that results may be influenced by species traits and their interaction with environmental factors. Lastly, I tested several approaches to improve the ability to remotely sense tamarisk occurrence. Using Landsat7 ETM+ satellite scenes and derived vegetation indices for six different months of the growing season, I examined their ability to detect tamarisk individually (single-scene analyses) and collectively (time-series). My results showed that time-series analyses were best suited to distinguish tamarisk from other vegetation and landscape features (AUC = 0.96, overall accuracy = 90%). June, August and September were the best months to detect unique phenological attributes that are likely related to the species’ extended growing season and green-up during peak growing months. These studies demonstrate that new techniques can further our understanding of tamarisk’s impacts on ecosystem processes, predict potential distribution and new invasions, and improve our ability to detect occurrence using remote sensing techniques. Collectively, the results of my studies may increase our ability to map tamarisk distributions and better quantify its impacts over multiple spatial and temporal scales.

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Page publiée le 4 novembre 2011, mise à jour le 18 novembre 2018