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Advanced Monitoring of Migratory Birds on Military Lands

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Technical rept.

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Department of Defense natural resource managers need information on where specific bird species of conservation concern are most likely to occur, and where hotspots of migratory species richness are located, in order to successfully implement installation-specific Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans. In this project, the research team developed an approach to characterizing the patterns of presence and abundance of bird species in open-canopy ecosystems. The approach integrates landscape level analysis with spatially detailed habitat information, using remotely sensed image texture which is derived from unclassified imagery. We calculated image texture from digital aerial photos, from Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite imagery which provides data on individual bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, and from a derived product, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. Maps of avian abundance and occurrence were developed from models using image texture. The mapping effort revealed that texture measures account for variability within landcover classes, reflecting fine-scale patterns of species abundance and occurrence that are not apparent in maps based on models using landcover class data only, while retaining a broad-extent perspective. In summary, image texture is a useful measure in models of habitat. Models based on image texture performed equal to or better than models based on classified habitat maps for characterizing habitat use by birds, across broad extents. This project has highlighted the potential to integrate remotely sensed measures of habitat structure in habitat models. Our study represents a major step forward for habitat assessments across large areas.

Subject Categories:

  • Ecology
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Optical Detection and Detectors

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