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Harvard Forest REU Symposium Abstract 2019

  • Title: Analyzing Forest Edge Characteristics Using NEON’s Airborne Observation Platform
  • Author: Wiley Hundertmark (Boston University)
  • Abstract:

    As forests are converted to developed uses, the remaining forest matrix is increasingly fragmented, influencing growing conditions and nutrient cycling towards forest edges. Measuring the resulting edge effects on forest ecosystem properties in situ is expensive and time-intensive. Remote sensing may present a more efficient method of characterizing edge effects on a larger scale. This research utilizes hyperspectral data and orthographic imagery from the NEON Airborne Observation Platform, which annually collects 1m resolution data over the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts. Various indices, including the Normalized Difference Nitrogen Index, Leaf Area Index, and Water Band Index are computed and compared to soil moisture and productivity data collected in situ. The remotely sensed data show some patterns in canopy properties with proximity to forest edge; however, large interannual variability among remote measurements obscures the edge signal and offers a significant challenge in linking calculated indices with in situ data. A larger dataset of coincident remote- and ground-based measurements may allow for a more accurate linkage.

  • Research Category: Group Projects; Physiological Ecology, Population Dynamics, and Species Interactions