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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(1), 51; doi:10.3390/rs8010051

Differentiating among Four Arctic Tundra Plant Communities at Ivotuk, Alaska Using Field Spectroscopy

1
Environmental Sciences Department, University of Virginia, 291 McCormick Road, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA
2
Alaska Geobotany Center, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 902 N. Koyukuk Dr., Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
3
Hyperspectral Imaging Laboratory, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 903 Koyukuk Dr., Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Santonu Goswami, Daniel J. Hayes, Guido Grosse, Benjamin Jones, Clement Atzberger and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 19 September 2015 / Revised: 23 December 2015 / Accepted: 25 December 2015 / Published: 8 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Changing Northern High Latitude Ecosystems)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4134 KB, uploaded 8 January 2016]   |  

Abstract

Warming in the Arctic has resulted in changes in the distribution and composition of vegetation communities. Many of these changes are occurring at fine spatial scales and at the level of individual species. Broad-band, coarse-scale remote sensing methods are commonly used to assess vegetation changes in the Arctic, and may not be appropriate for detecting these fine-scale changes; however, the use of hyperspectral, high resolution data for assessing vegetation dynamics remains scarce. The aim of this paper is to assess the ability of field spectroscopy to differentiate among four vegetation communities in the Low Arctic of Alaska. Primary data were collected from the North Slope site of Ivotuk, Alaska (68.49°N, 155.74°W) and analyzed using spectrally resampled hyperspectral narrowbands (HNBs). A two-step sparse partial least squares (SPLS) and linear discriminant analysis (LDA) was used for community separation. Results from Ivotuk were then used to predict community membership at five other sites along the Dalton Highway in Arctic Alaska. Overall classification accuracy at Ivotuk ranged from 84%–94% and from 55%–91% for the Dalton Highway test sites. The results of this study suggest that hyperspectral data acquired at the field level, along with the SPLS and LDA methodology, can be used to successfully discriminate among Arctic tundra vegetation communities in Alaska, and present an improvement over broad-band, coarse-scale methods for community classification. View Full-Text
Keywords: Arctic Transitions in the Land-Atmosphere System (ATLAS); North American Arctic Transect (NAAT); hyperspectral; arctic tundra vegetation; vegetation classification Arctic Transitions in the Land-Atmosphere System (ATLAS); North American Arctic Transect (NAAT); hyperspectral; arctic tundra vegetation; vegetation classification
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bratsch, S.N.; Epstein, H.E.; Buchhorn, M.; Walker, D.A. Differentiating among Four Arctic Tundra Plant Communities at Ivotuk, Alaska Using Field Spectroscopy. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 51.

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