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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(9), 3513-3530; doi:10.3390/ijerph7093513

Comparison of Laboratory and Field Remote Sensing Methods to Measure Forage Quality

Department of Geography, University of Saskatchewan, 117 Science Place, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 5C8, Canada
Jasper National Park of Canada, Parks Canada, P.O. Box 10, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 August 2010 / Accepted: 16 September 2010 / Published: 27 September 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Sensor Networks)
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Recent research in range ecology has emphasized the importance of forage quality as a key indicator of rangeland condition. However, we lack tools to evaluate forage quality at scales appropriate for management. Using canopy reflectance data to measure forage quality has been conducted at both laboratory and field levels separately, but little work has been conducted to evaluate these methods simultaneously. The objective of this study is to find a reliable way of assessing grassland quality through measuring forage chemistry with reflectance. We studied a mixed grass ecosystem in Grasslands National Park of Canada and surrounding pastures, located in southern Saskatchewan. Spectral reflectance was collected at both in-situ field level and in the laboratory. Vegetation samples were collected at each site, sorted into the green grass portion, and then sent to a chemical company for measuring forage quality variables, including protein, lignin, ash, moisture at 135 ºC, Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF), Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF), Total Digestible, Digestible Energy, Net Energy for Lactation, Net Energy for Maintenance, and Net Energy for Gain. Reflectance data were processed with the first derivative transformation and continuum removal method. Correlation analysis was conducted on spectral and forage quality variables. A regression model was further built to investigate the possibility of using canopy spectral measurements to predict the grassland quality. Results indicated that field level prediction of protein of mixed grass species was possible (r2 = 0.63). However, the relationship between canopy reflectance and the other forage quality variables was not strong. View Full-Text
Keywords: forage quality; chemical contents; remote sensing; mixed-grass prairie; protein; NDF; ADF forage quality; chemical contents; remote sensing; mixed-grass prairie; protein; NDF; ADF

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Guo, X.; Wilmshurst, J.F.; Li, Z. Comparison of Laboratory and Field Remote Sensing Methods to Measure Forage Quality. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 3513-3530.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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