Remotely detecting tree damage in Yosemite National Park


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Towson University. Environmental Science and Studies Program

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United States Park Service and Forest Service managers are increasingly concerned with identifying methods to quickly and efficiently monitor environmental conditions. This study investigates updating the USDA Forest Service's current method of mapping tree damage with remote sensing techniques in Yosemite National Park. Two change detection methods using Landsat TM satellite imagery were tested and compared to the USFS manual method of annual aerial over flights. The methods tested include: 1) a cross correlation analysis incorporating a feature class from 2006 and imagery from 2011 for use in a Z-score algorithm; and 2) subtracting the greenness component of a 2011 tasseled cap transformation from the greenness component from a 2006 image. The study found the cross correlation analysis to detect damage at 79% accuracy, the image subtraction method to detect damage at 82% accuracy, and the current USFS Aerial Detection Surveys to perform at 64% accuracy.