Texas savanna experienced substantial woody plant encroachment during the past several decades, resulting in habitat fragmentation and species loss. A detailed map of woody plant abundance and distribution in this area is critically needed for management purpose. This study endeavors to map the fractional woody cover of Texas savanna at Landsat scale (30 m) in an affordable way. The top of atmosphere reflectance, thermal bands, and NDVI layer of Web-Enabled Landsat Data (WELD) of 2012 were used as predictors, together with mean annual precipitation. Classification and Regression Trees (CART) were calibrated against training data of a whole range of fractional woody cover, which were derived from 1-m resolution digital orthophotos of 2012. Validation indicates a reasonable pixel level accuracy of the result fractional woody cover map, with a R-squared value of 0.45. Moreover, the result map clearly depicts the distribution of woody plants across the study area, as reflected by the orthophotos. Furthermore, this new map proves an improvement over the existing Landsat Vegetation Continuous Fields (VCF) tree cover product. The method developed here, combining remote sensing and statistical techniques, can contribute to savanna management through revealing the abundance and distribution of woody plants.
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