Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/96963
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Type: Journal article
Title: Rangeland condition monitoring: a new approach using cross-fence comparisons of remotely sensed vegetation
Author: Kilpatrick, A.
Lewis, M.
Ostendorf, B.
Citation: PLoS One, 2015; 10(11):e0142742-1-e0142742-17
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 1932-6203
1932-6203
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Adam D. Kilpatrick, Megan M. Lewis, Bertram Ostendorf
Abstract: A need exists in arid rangelands for effective monitoring of the impacts of grazing management on vegetation cover. Monitoring methods which utilize remotely-sensed imagery may have comprehensive spatial and temporal sampling, but do not necessarily control for spatial variation of natural variables, such as landsystem, vegetation type, soil type and rainfall. We use the inverse of the red band from Landsat TM satellite imagery to determine levels of vegetation cover in a 22,672km2 area of arid rangeland in central South Australia. We interpret this wealth of data using a cross-fence comparison methodology, allowing us to rank paddocks (fields) in the study region according to effectiveness of grazing management. The cross-fence comparison methodology generates and solves simultaneous equations of the relationship between each paddock and all other paddocks, derived from pairs of cross-fence sample points. We compare this ranking from two image dates separated by six years, during which management changes are known to have taken place. Changes in paddock rank resulting from the cross-fence comparison method show strong correspondence to those predicted by grazing management in this region, with a significant difference between the two common management types; a change from full stocking rate to light 20% stocking regime (Major Stocking Reduction) and maintenance of full 100% stocking regime (Full Stocking Maintained) (P = 0.00000132). While no paddocks had a known increase in stocking rate during the study period, many had a reduction or complete removal in stock numbers, and many also experienced removals of pest species, such as rabbits, and other ecosystem restoration activities. These paddocks generally showed an improvement in rank compared to paddocks where the stocking regime remained relatively unchanged. For the first time, this method allows us to rank non-adjacent paddocks in a rangeland region relative to each other, while controlling for natural spatio-temporal variables such as rainfall, soil type, and vegetation community distributions, due to the nature of the cross-fence experimental design, and the spatially comprehensive data available in satellite imagery. This method provides a potential tool to aid land managers in decision making processes, particularly with regard to stocking rates.
Keywords: Animals; Rabbits; Macropodidae; Soil; Reproducibility of Results; Decision Making; Conservation of Natural Resources; Ecosystem; Environmental Monitoring; Geography; Image Processing, Computer-Assisted; Software; South Australia; Remote Sensing Technology; Satellite Imagery
Rights: © 2015 Kilpatrick et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
RMID: 0030039043
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0142742
Appears in Collections:Ecology, Evolution and Landscape Science publications

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