Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Landscape Inventory and Harvest Strategies for Individual Western Juniper in Eastern Oregon Public Deposited

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  • Western juniper is a native species in eastern Oregon that became invasive during the last century since its range increased fivefold from 1936 to 1988. Western juniper’s ability to absorb rainfall and groundwater has deleterious effects on stream flow and sensitive sage grouse habitat in eastern Oregon. New methods of western juniper remediation have been proposed, including harvesting and processing western juniper as merchantable timber. An essential part of these methods is the accurate survey of trees and a harvesting plan. The objective of my thesis was to estimate the existing juniper resource in Wheeler county, Oregon, and to develop a harvesting plan for the resource. To estimate the existing juniper resource, I implemented two methods of segmenting individual tree using their ground-projected crown and applied them to orthorectified multispectral aerial images. This work involved estimating the canopy height model from multispectral aerial imagery, which was performed with a generative adversarial network. The generated canopy height model was used with the most accurate tree crown detection method to create a map of juniper locations, with their corresponding height. Based on the knowledge of location and size of each juniper I developed a novel individual tree level harvest strategy. The strategy was evaluated using two heuristic techniques, simulated annealing and record to record, on two areas, each of approximately 1600 ha. The results indicate that landscape restoration by removing junipers depends on the amount and value of the junipers, and in many cases, financial incentives would likely be needed.
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  • This work was supported by the Forest Engineering, Resources and Management Department, the Wes and Nancy Lematta Fellowship, and the SUN Grant
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