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Christopher Potter, “Differing ecosystem responses of vegetation cover to...

Potter, C. (2018), Christopher Potter, “Differing ecosystem responses of vegetation cover to extreme drought on the Big Sur, Differing ecosystem responses of, 12, 26031, doi:10.1117/1.JRS.12.026031.

Impacts of the extreme 2013 to 2014 drought on vegetation canopy cover in the Big Sur region of central coastal California were assessed using a combination of satellite image analysis and in situ measurements of soil moisture. Landsat and moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer satellite images were analyzed and compared across six ecosystems representative of the predominant vegetation types of the region at the U. S. Forest Service’s Brazil Ranch study site. Results showed that differing spatial densities of woody plants among these ecosystems corresponded to the observed changes in the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) over the period of 2010 to 2016, with the herbaceous-dominated coastal terrace, open shrub, and ridge-top grassland ecosystems declining 30% in greenness during the extreme drought period of 2012 to 2014. Landsat images from the month of peak annual NDVI confirmed this as a statistically significant difference in the loss of green cover in open shrub and grassland ecosystems during the 2012 to 2014 drought, compared to the closed shrubland and redwood-dominated ecosystems that were relatively unaffected at the study site.

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