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Fractional Woody Cover Mapping of Texas Savanna at Landsat Scale

1
Department of Geography, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
2
Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 October 2018 / Revised: 6 December 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2019 / Published: 5 January 2019
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Abstract

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: woody cover; fractional representation; Texas savanna; Web-enabled Landsat Data; Classification and Regression Trees; Landsat Vegetation Continuous Fields woody cover; fractional representation; Texas savanna; Web-enabled Landsat Data; Classification and Regression Trees; Landsat Vegetation Continuous Fields
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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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Yang, X.; Crews, K.A. Fractional Woody Cover Mapping of Texas Savanna at Landsat Scale. Land 2019, 8, 9.

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