Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Characterization and delineation of caribou habitat on Unimak Island using remote sensing techniques
by Atkinson, Brain M., M.S., University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2014, 91; 1566796
Abstract (Summary)

The assessment of herbivore habitat quality is traditionally based on quantifying the forages available to the animal across their home range through ground-based techniques. While these methods are highly accurate, they can be time-consuming and highly expensive, especially for herbivores that occupy vast spatial landscapes. The Unimak Island caribou herd has been decreasing in the last decade at rates that have prompted discussion of management intervention. Frequent inclement weather in this region of Alaska has provided for little opportunity to study the caribou forage habitat on Unimak Island. The overall objectives of this study were two-fold 1) to assess the feasibility of using high-resolution color and near-infrared aerial imagery to map the forage distribution of caribou habitat on Unimak Island and 2) to assess the use of a new high-resolution multispectral satellite imagery platform, RapidEye, and use of the "red-edge" spectral band on vegetation classification accuracy. Maximum likelihood classification algorithms were used to create land cover maps in aerial and satellite imagery. Accuracy assessments and transformed divergence values were produced to assess vegetative spectral information and classification accuracy. By using RapidEye and aerial digital imagery in a hierarchical supervised classification technique, we were able to produce a high resolution land cover map of Unimak Island. We obtained overall accuracy rates of 71.4 percent which are comparable to other land cover maps using RapidEye imagery. The "red-edge" spectral band included in the RapidEye imagery provides additional spectral information that allows for a more accurate overall classification, raising overall accuracy 5.2 percent.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Harris, Norman R.
Commitee: Finstad, Greg L., Verbyla, David L.
School: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Department: Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences
School Location: United States -- Alaska
Source: MAI 53/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Geographic information science, Natural Resource Management, Remote sensing
Keywords: Aerial photography, Alaska, Rapideye, Remote sensing, Unimak
Publication Number: 1566796
ISBN: 978-1-321-25675-8
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