Landsat 8 and high-resolution multispectral WorldView-2 data (1.84 m at nadir) were used to estimate burn severity of the largest fire of Arizona in 2013, the Creek Fire in the San Carlos Apache Nation. Such burn severity analysis is crucial in estimating carbon loss and quantifying the regional carbon budget given the projected more frequent fire occurrences in this region and in providing guidance for the tribal forest management in the San Carlos Apache Nation.
The Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PFLCC) region (http://peninsularfloridalcc.org/) is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change in the United States. The low elevation makes this region susceptible to sea-level rise. Some of the potential risks include population displacement, loss of economic assets, critical infrastructure failure, and an increased occurrence or severity of natural disturbances such as hurricanes and droughts.
Researchers at the USGS, the University of Michigan, the University of Arizona, and University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, are collaborating with scientists at Brazil's National Institute for Space Research and Federal University of Amazonas on a 3-year research project that investigates a basic yet unanswered question in Earth-system and global carbon-cycle science: What controls the response of photosynthesis in Amazon tropical forests to seasonal variations in climate?
Ecosystems – Birds
This study assessed the impact of prescribed fire and wildfire on forest structure and wildlife habitat. Since 1998, prescribed fires have increased and wildfire suppression has decreased in portions of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Recent data collections afforded a unique opportunity to link remotely sensed data, Landsat-based Normalized Burn Ratio Differencing (dNBR) and lidar with field surveys (vegetation sampling and bird surveys) to assess the application of these technologies in species habitat modeling. dNBR provides a measure of the difference between
Extreme weather events such as drought, cold snaps, and heat waves influence patterns in the abundance and demography of birds. We use satellite data (specifically, products from MODIS) to identify extreme weather events; these extreme events are coupled with habitat mapping derived from the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) along with bird data to test hypotheses regarding influences of weather. Bird data come from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, Global Biodiversity Information Facility, and Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) programs.
The USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in cooperation with the USACE is investigating least tern and piping plover habitats in terms of the dynamics of land cover and emergent sandbars on the Garrison, Fort Randall, Lewis and Clark Lake, and Gavins Point segments of the Missouri River. Remotely sensed, submeter resolution images from WorldView-2 and GeoEye, and 6-m resolution RapidEye images, are acquired multiple times each year. Land cover and emergent sandbars are mapped using a prototype knowledge- and object-based image analysis model developed for the Mis
Lidar is a remote sensing tool that can describe both the vertical and horizontal distribution of vegetation, allowing researchers to quantify habitat complexity for species residing in forest canopies. USGS researchers and collaborators used lidar data to estimate occupancy probability for the federally threatened marbled murrelet in Oregon Coast Range forests managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Oregon Department of Forestry.
The USGS UMESC partnered with USFWS Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, near Mayville, Wisconsin, to study Sandhill crane movements in relation to landscape features and wind energy development using a mobile marine radar unit. These data are being used in a modeling framework in conjunction with remotely sensed crop information, elevation, and weather data to understand how the birds behave in relation to the landscape, habitat, weather conditions, and wind turbines located near the refuge. The work is intended to aid the USFWS with the evaluation of wind power development proposals.
The USGS UMESC used a combination of high-resolution digital aerial photography, MODIS satellite-derived chlorophyll concentration data, MODIS sea surface temperature data, satellite transmitters, and geolocator tags to monitor waterbird use of the Great Lakes. These data are being used by USGS to identify key waterbird habitats on the Great Lakes, conduct impact assessments of near-shore and off-shore wind turbine placements, and elucidate factors that influence the outbreak of type-E avian botulism.
Research reveals that the western yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus occidentalis), a candidate for listing as an endangered species, is picky when choosing a location to build its nest. USGS scientists examined the land surface phenology captured by satellite data within cottonwood-willow riparian vegetation, a critical nesting habitat type for the cuckoo in Arizona.