- Program Areas
- Energy and Water
- Environmental Restoration
- Munitions Response
- Resource Conservation and Climate Change
- Natural Resources
- Cultural Resources
- Climate Change
- Air Quality
- Weapons Systems and Platforms
Remote Sensing Technology for Threatened and Endangered Plant Species Recovery
Although dryland ecosystems of Hawaii and southern California are regional biodiversity hot spots with numerous threatened, endangered, and at-risk plant species (TER-S), sustaining restored populations has been challenging, due mainly to water limitation of plant growth and difficulty determining which regions of the landscape are suitable for restoration activities. Identifying areas within landscapes that minimize water stress and thereby enhance plant growth, performance, and survival is expected to significantly improve the recovery of TER-S and reduce associated costs of restoration programs. The objective of this project is to demonstrate the use of topographic models to inform restoration programs for TER-S.
Topographic models using elevation measurements from airborne light detecting and ranging (LiDAR) have been developed that accurately predict habitat suitability for existing TER-S at the Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) in Hawaii. A digital terrain model (DTM) with high spatial resolution (< 2m) is used to define areas of suitable topography for plant restoration by scoring the landscape for the presence of three criteria that have the capacity to reduce evaporative water stress. The criteria are combined to generate a spatially referenced habitat suitability model (HSM) that can guide field restoration efforts among four suitability classes: no criteria met (Class 0), one criterion met (Class 1), two criteria met (Class 2), and three criteria met (Class 3).
This project will demonstrate the utility of the HSM to guide restoration efforts at PTA, other Department of Defense (DoD) installations, and other areas designated for TER-S restoration. TER-S will be planted into replicate Class 0 and Class 3 areas at PTA and an adjacent site in Hawaii. Growth, survival, and measures of plant performance will be monitored to determine how plants respond to restoration in different suitability classes. Greater restoration success is expected in Class 3 areas, indicated by greater survival and growth and reduced plant stress. The team will also develop and validate a methodology for generating HSMs from terrain models derived from high-resolution stereographic satellite observations. New data products from globally available commercial satellite observations can now provide topographic measurements that approach the precision and accuracy of airborne LiDAR. Stereographic DTMs will be generated using satellite observations collected by WorldView-2 and evaluated by comparison to airborne LiDAR. Field validation of one model will be conducted at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The cost and cost-savings of implementing this approach will be quantified, and materials including a software extension will be developed for technology transfer to land managers.
This modeling approach can immediately assist TER-S outplanting efforts at PTA by guiding planting to high suitability areas of the landscape where plant growth, performance, and survival should be greater. Guided restoration is expected to reduce the costs of restoration programs through increased survival rates. An additional benefit will be the ability to protect high-quality habitat and focus training activities away from high-quality areas of the landscape. Because satellite imagery is readily available for locations across the globe, the methodology developed can be applied to any site of interest in the future. Thus, the technology can be used to generate HSMs for TER-S recovery for sites anywhere in the world, including DoD installations in dry environments (e.g., southern California and Southwestern states). (Anticipated Project Completion - 2016)
Symposium & Workshop
FY 2013 New Start Project Selections
Points of Contact
Dr. Erin Questad
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Resource Conservation and Climate Change
SERDP and ESTCP
- Fact Sheet - Brief project summary with links to related documents and points of contact.
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- Workshop Report - Summary of workshop discussion and findings.
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