Rangeland Brush Estimation Tool (RaBET): An Operational Remote Sensing-Based Application for Quantifying Woody Cover on Western Rangelands

Chandra Holifield Collins, Susan Skirvin, Mark Kautz, Zachary Winston, Dustin Curley, Andrew Corrales, Andrew Bishop, Nadine Bishop, Cynthia Norton, Guillermo Ponce-Campos, Gerardo Armendariz, Loretta Metz, Philip Heilman, Willem van Leeuwen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Much of the western United States is covered by rangelands used for grazing and wildlife. Woody plant cover is increasing in areas historically covered by grasslands and can cause numerous problems, including losses in wildlife habitat, forage for grazing, and overall losses in soil health. Land managers and conservationists are working to control these increases in woody plants, but need tools to help determine target areas to focus efforts and resources where they are most needed. In this work, we present RaBET (Rangeland Brush Estimation Tool), which uses transparent, well-understood methodologies with remotely sensed data to map woody canopy cover across large areas of rangelands. We demonstrate that our process produced more accurate results than two currently available tools based on advanced machine learning techniques. We compare two methods of map validation: traditional field methods of plant canopy measurements; and aircraft-based photography, which decreases the amount of time and resources needed. RaBET is a remote sensing-based application for obtaining repeatable, accurate measures of woody cover to aid land managers and conservationists in the control of woody plants on rangelands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5102
JournalRemote Sensing
Volume15
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Landsat
  • rangelands
  • vegetation maps
  • woody cover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

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