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We performed an in-depth literature survey to identify the most popular data mining approaches that have been applied for raster mapping of ecological parameters through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remotely sensed data. Popular data mining approaches included decision trees or “data mining” trees which consist of regression and classification trees, random forests, neural networks, and support vector machines. The advantages of each data mining approach as well as approaches to avoid overfitting are subsequently discussed. We also provide suggestions and examples for the mapping of problematic variables or classes, future or historical projections, and avoidance of model bias. Finally, we...
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We summarize the results of a recent interagency assessment of land carbon dynamics in Alaska, in which carbon dynamics were estimated for all major terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems for the historical period (1950–2009) and a projection period (2010–2099). Between 1950 and 2009, upland and wetland (i.e., terrestrial) ecosystems of the state gained 0.4 Tg C/yr (0.1% of net primary production, NPP), resulting in a cumulative greenhouse gas radiative forcing of 1.68 × 10−3 W/m2. The change in carbon storage is spatially variable with the region of the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) losing carbon because of fire disturbance. The combined carbon transport via various pathways through inland...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Drylands are the habitat and source of livelihood for about two fifths of the world’s population and are highly susceptible to climate and anthropogenic change. To understand the vulnerability of drylands to changing environmental conditions, land managers need to effectively monitor rates of past change and remote sensing offers a cost-effective means to assess and manage these vast landscapes. Here, we present a novel approach to accurately monitor land-surface phenology in drylands of the Western United States using a regression tree modeling framework that combined information collected by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) onboard Landsat 8 and the Multispectral Instrument (MSI) onboard Sentinel-2. This highly-automatable...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Remote Sensing
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The distribution of permafrost is important to understand because of permafrost's influence on high-latitude ecosystem structure and functions. Moreover, near-surface (defined here as within 1 m of the Earth's surface) permafrost is particularly susceptible to a warming climate and is generally poorly mapped at regional scales. Subsequently, our objectives were to (1) develop the first-known binary and probabilistic maps of near-surface permafrost distributions at a 30 m resolution in the Alaskan Yukon River Basin by employing decision tree models, field measurements, and remotely sensed and mapped biophysical data; (2) evaluate the relative contribution of 39 biophysical variables used in the models; and (3) assess...
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Fire can be a significant driver of permafrost change in boreal landscapes, altering the availability of soil carbon and nutrients that have important implications for future climate and ecological succession. However, not all landscapes are equally susceptible to fire-induced change. As fire frequency is expected to increase in the high latitudes, methods to understand the vulnerability and resilience of different landscapes to permafrost degradation are needed. Geophysical and other field observations reveal details of both near-surface (less than 1 m) and deeper (greater than 1 m) impacts of fire on permafrost along 14 transects that span burned-unburned boundaries in different landscape settings within interior...
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Fire can be a significant driver of permafrost change in boreal landscapes, altering the availability of soil carbon and nutrients that have important implications for future climate and ecological succession. However, not all landscapes are equally susceptible to fire-induced change. As fire frequency is expected to increase in the high latitudes, methods to understand the vulnerability and resilience of different landscapes to permafrost degradation are needed. Geophysical and other field observations reveal details of both near-surface (less than 1 m) and deeper (greater than 1 m) impacts of fire on permafrost along 14 transects that span burned-unburned boundaries in different landscape settings within interior...
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Fire can be a significant driver of permafrost change in boreal landscapes, altering the availability of soil carbon and nutrients that have important implications for future climate and ecological succession. However, not all landscapes are equally susceptible to fire-induced change. As fire frequency is expected to increase in the high latitudes, methods to understand the vulnerability and resilience of different landscapes to permafrost degradation are needed. Geophysical and other field observations reveal details of both near-surface (less than 1 m) and deeper (greater than 1 m) impacts of fire on permafrost along 14 transects that span burned-unburned boundaries in different landscape settings within interior...
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Modern climate change in Alaska has resulted in widespread thawing of permafrost, increased fire activity, and extensive changes in vegetation characteristics that have significant consequences for socioecological systems. Despite observations of the heightened sensitivity of these systems to change, there has not been a comprehensive assessment of factors that drive ecosystem changes throughout Alaska. Here we present research that improves our understanding of the main drivers of the spatiotemporal patterns of carbon dynamics using in situ observations, remote sensing data, and an array of modeling techniques. In the last 60 yr, Alaska has seen a large increase in mean annual air temperature (1.7°C), with the...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Fire can be a significant driver of permafrost change in boreal landscapes, altering the availability of soil carbon and nutrients that have important implications for future climate and ecological succession. However, not all landscapes are equally susceptible to fire-induced change. As fire frequency is expected to increase in the high latitudes, methods to understand the vulnerability and resilience of different landscapes to permafrost degradation are needed. We present a combination of multiscale remote sensing, geophysical, and field observations that reveal details of both near-surface (<1 m) and deeper (>1 m) impacts of fire on permafrost. Along 11 transects that span burned-unburned boundaries in different...
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Machine-learning regression tree models were used to extrapolate airborne electromagnetic resistivity data collected along flight lines in the Yukon Flats Ecoregion, central Alaska, for regional mapping of permafrost. This method of extrapolation (r = 0.86) used subsurface resistivity, Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) at-sensor reflectance, thermal, TM-derived spectral indices, digital elevation models and other relevant spatial data to estimate near-surface (0–2.6-m depth) resistivity at 30-m resolution. A piecewise regression model (r = 0.82) and a presence/absence decision tree classification (accuracy of 87%) were used to estimate active-layer thickness (ALT) (< 101 cm) and the probability of near-surface (up to...
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Fire can be a significant driver of permafrost change in boreal landscapes, altering the availability of soil carbon and nutrients that have important implications for future climate and ecological succession. However, not all landscapes are equally susceptible to fire-induced change. As fire frequency is expected to increase in the high latitudes, methods to understand the vulnerability and resilience of different landscapes to permafrost degradation are needed. Geophysical and other field observations reveal details of both near-surface (less than 1 m) and deeper (greater than 1 m) impacts of fire on permafrost along 14 transects that span burned-unburned boundaries in different landscape settings within interior...
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Quantification of aboveground biomass (AGB) in Alaska’s boreal forest is essential to the accurate evaluation of terrestrial carbon stocks and dynamics in northern high-latitude ecosystems. Our goal was to map AGB at 30 m resolution for the boreal forest in the Yukon River Basin of Alaska using Landsat data and ground measurements. We acquired Landsat images to generate a 3-year (2008–2010) composite of top-of-atmosphere reflectance for six bands as well as the brightness temperature (BT). We constructed a multiple regression model using field-observed AGB and Landsat-derived reflectance, BT, and vegetation indices. A basin-wide boreal forest AGB map at 30 m resolution was generated by applying the regression model...
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It is important to understand how upland ecosystems of Alaska, which are estimated to occupy 84% of the state (i.e., 1,237,774 km2), are influencing and will influence state‐wide carbon (C) dynamics in the face of ongoing climate change. We coupled fire disturbance and biogeochemical models to assess the relative effects of changing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), climate, logging and fire regimes on the historical and future C balance of upland ecosystems for the four main Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) of Alaska. At the end of the historical period (1950–2009) of our analysis, we estimate that upland ecosystems of Alaska store ~50 Pg C (with ~90% of the C in soils), and gained 3.26 Tg C/yr. Three...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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High-latitude regions are experiencing rapid and extensive changes in ecosystem composition and function as the result of increases in average air temperature. Increasing air temperatures have led to widespread thawing and degradation of permafrost, which in turn has affected ecosystems, socioeconomics, and the carbon cycle of high latitudes. Here we overcome complex interactions among surface and subsurface conditions to map nearsurface permafrost through decision and regression tree approaches that statistically and spatially extend field observations using remotely sensed imagery, climatic data, and thematic maps of a wide range of surface and subsurface biophysical characteristics. The data fusion approach generated...
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Characterization of permafrost, particularly warm and near-surface permafrost which can contain significant liquid water, is critical to understanding complex interrelationships with climate change, ecosystems, and disturbances such as wildfires. Understanding the vulnerability and resilience of permafrost requires an interdisciplinary approach, relying on (for example) geophysical investigations, ecological characterization, direct observations, remote sensing, and more. As part of a multi-year investigation into the impacts of wildfires to permafrost, we have collected in situ measurements of the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) response of active layer and permafrost in a variety of soil conditions, types, and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Cryosphere
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Understanding of the organic layer thickness (OLT) and organic layer carbon (OLC) stocks in subarctic ecosystems is critical due to their importance in the global carbon cycle. Moreover, post-fire OLT provides an indicator of long-term successional trajectories and permafrost susceptibility to thaw. To these ends, we 1) mapped OLT and associated uncertainty at 30 m resolution in the Yukon River Basin (YRB), Alaska, employing decision tree models linking remotely sensed imagery with field and ancillary data, 2) converted OLT to OLC using a non-linear regression, 3) evaluate landscape controls on OLT and OLC, and 4) quantified the post-fire recovery of OLT and OLC. Areas of shallow (< 10 cm), moderate (≥ 10 cm and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Geoderma
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Fire can be a significant driver of permafrost change in boreal landscapes, altering the availability of soil carbon and nutrients that have important implications for future climate and ecological succession. However, not all landscapes are equally susceptible to fire-induced change. As fire frequency is expected to increase in the high latitudes, methods to understand the vulnerability and resilience of different landscapes to permafrost degradation are needed. Geophysical and other field observations reveal details of both near-surface (less than 1 m) and deeper (greater than 1 m) impacts of fire on permafrost along 14 transects that span burned-unburned boundaries in different landscape settings within interior...
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Contemporary climate change in Alaska has resulted in amplified rates of press and pulse disturbances that drive ecosystem change with significant consequences for socio‐environmental systems. Despite the vulnerability of Arctic and boreal landscapes to change, little has been done to characterize landscape change and associated drivers across northern high‐latitude ecosystems. Here we characterize the historical sensitivity of Alaska's ecosystems to environmental change and anthropogenic disturbances using expert knowledge, remote sensing data, and spatiotemporal analyses and modeling. Time‐series analysis of moderate—and high‐resolution imagery was used to characterize land‐ and water‐surface dynamics across Alaska....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Global Change Biology
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Wetlands are critical terrestrial ecosystems in Alaska, covering ~177,000 km2, an area greater than all the wetlands in the remainder of the United States. To assess the relative influence of changing climate, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration, and fire regime on carbon balance in wetland ecosystems of Alaska, a modeling framework that incorporates a fire disturbance model and two biogeochemical models was used. Spatially explicit simulations were conducted at 1‐km resolution for the historical period (1950–2009) and future projection period (2010–2099). Simulations estimated that wetland ecosystems of Alaska lost 175 Tg carbon (C) in the historical period. Ecosystem C storage in 2009 was 5,556 Tg,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications


    map background search result map search result map Extending airborne electromagnetic surveys for regional active layer and permafrost mapping with remote sensing and ancillary data, Yukon Flats ecoregion, central Alaska Distribution and landscape controls of organic layer thickness and carbon within the Alaskan Yukon River Basin Spatial variability and landscape controls of near-surface permafrost within the Alaskan Yukon River Basin Fire impacts on permafrost in Alaska: Geophysical and other field data collected in 2015 Borehole Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Data; Alaska, 2015 final Borehole Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Inverted Models; Alaska, 2015 Electrical Resistivity Tomography Observations; Alaska, 2015 final Electrical Resistivity Tomography Inverted Models; Alaska, 2015 Borehole Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Data; Alaska, 2015 final Borehole Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Inverted Models; Alaska, 2015 Fire impacts on permafrost in Alaska: Geophysical and other field data collected in 2015 Electrical Resistivity Tomography Observations; Alaska, 2015 final Electrical Resistivity Tomography Inverted Models; Alaska, 2015 Extending airborne electromagnetic surveys for regional active layer and permafrost mapping with remote sensing and ancillary data, Yukon Flats ecoregion, central Alaska Spatial variability and landscape controls of near-surface permafrost within the Alaskan Yukon River Basin Distribution and landscape controls of organic layer thickness and carbon within the Alaskan Yukon River Basin