Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

From Bray-Curtis ordination to Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulation: assessing anthropogenically-induced and/or climatically-induced changes in arboreal ecosystems
by Madurapperuma, Buddhika Dilhan, Ph.D., North Dakota State University, 2013, 117; 3589285
Abstract (Summary)

Mapping forest resources is useful for identifying threat patterns and monitoring changes associated with landscapes. Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Science techniques are effective tools used to identify and forecast forest resource threats such as exotic plant invasion, vulnerability to climate change, and land-use/cover change. This research focused on mapping abundance and distribution of Russian-olive using soil and land-use/cover data, evaluating historic land-use/cover change using mappable water-related indices addressing the primary loss of riparian arboreal ecosystems, and detecting year-to-year land-cover changes on forest conversion processes. Digital image processing techniques were used to detect the changes of arboreal ecosystems using ArcGIS ArcInfo® 9.3, ENVI®, and ENVI® EX platforms.

Research results showed that Russian-olive at the inundated habitats of the Missouri River is abundant compared to terrestrial habitats in the Bismarck-Mandan Wildland Urban Interface. This could be a consequence of habitat quality of the floodplain, such as its silt loam and silty clay soil type, which favors Russian-olive regeneration. Russian-olive has close assemblage with cottonwood (Populus deltoides) and buffaloberry (Shepherdia argentea) trees at the lower elevations. In addition, the Russian-olive-cottonwood association correlated with low nitrogen, low pH, and high Fe, while Russian-olive- buffaloberry association occurred in highly eroded areas.

The Devils Lake sub-watershed was selected to demonstrate how both land-use/cover modification and climatic variability have caused the vulnerability of arboreal ecosystems on the fringe to such changes. Land-cover change showed that the forest acreage declined from 9% to 1%, water extent increased from 13% to 25%, and cropland extent increased from 34% to 39% between 1992 and 2006. In addition, stochastic modeling was adapted to simulate how land-use/cover change influenced forest conversion to non-forested lands at the urban-wildland fringes in Cass County. The analysis yielded two distinct statistical groups of transition probabilities for forest to non-forest, with high transition probability of unchanged forest (0.54≤ Pff ≤ 0.68) from 2006 to 2011. Generally, the land-uses, such as row crops, showed an increasing trend, while grains, hay, seeds, and other crops showed a declining trend. This information is vital to forest managers for implementing restoration and conservation practices in arboreal ecosystems.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Oduor, Peter G.
Commitee: Clambey, Gary K., Li, Deying, Shaik, Saleem, Zeleznik, Joseph
School: North Dakota State University
Department: Environmental and Conservation Sciences
School Location: United States -- North Dakota
Source: DAI-B 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Geographic information science, Environmental science, Remote sensing
Keywords: Climatic variability, Devils lake, Land-use/cover change, Markov chain, Missouri river, Russian-olive
Publication Number: 3589285
ISBN: 978-1-303-27780-1
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