Using Forest Phenology to Understand Landscape Change
Land management objectives and ecological realities differ from place to place, but all forest lands face threats stemming from land use change, climate change, and disturbances such as wildfire, forest pathogen outbreaks, and invasive species. Informed management decision-making can be supported by tools that help define and measure landscape change and resilience through time. USDA Forest Service researchers have developed tools that monitor all lands across the conterminous U.S. and adjacent Canada and Mexico, providing a comprehensive year-to-year perspective on landscape dynamics. The key insight of LanDAT is that phenology (regular seasonal change of vegetation) is an excellent indicator for basic variation in ecosystems and the changes wrought by multiple interacting stressors on forest vegetation. Vegetation phenology can be observed in satellite imagery, making it possible to map these changes across large areas. This provides managers with a reliable approach for seeing landscape change and assessing the influence of management activities on landscape resilience and adaptive capacity. LanDAT is accessible through a public website, map viewer, and story maps. A recent article in the journal Forests details the methods used to transform long time series of satellite images into phenology metrics that reveal patterns of landscape change in new ways.
|Monitoring broadscale vegetational diversity and change across North American landscapes using land surface phenology||(publication)|
Forest Service Partners