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Measuring changes in tundra canopy structure following winter off-road travel activities in Arctic Alaska : a comparative study of traditional and digital image sampling methodologies Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/f7623d19j

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  • The purpose of this study was to document the initial change in vegetative canopy cover following winter seismic exploration on the North Slope of Alaska. The study conducted herein focuses solely on the impact to wet sedge meadow vegetation. The overarching goal of this study is to contribute some level of ecological understanding with regards to the impacts associated with winter travel. Objectives specific to the methodologies conducted herein include: 1. To document initial change in canopy structure of wet sedge meadow communities following disturbance through the use of traditional point sampling methods. 2. Extract canopy structure measurements through the analysis of digital images. 3. Assess the quality of canopy measurements produced from digital images with reference to those of point sampling. Documenting the initial level of impact is an important first step in addressing concerns over off-road activities. In order to better understand the degree to which tundra systems are influenced by winter travel, continued monitoring of disturbed sites would help provide agency personnel with valuable information to more effectively regulate standards involved in the permitting of travel activities. Industry would also benefit from continued monitoring efforts; being provided with valuable insight to improve methods of travel and limit the extent or level of environmental impact. Change detection and monitoring studies of this nature would ideally consist of several years of repeat sampling. Time constraints in this instance limited data collection to a single field season. The study design, however, was laid out in fashion to be consistent with a longer term, multiple year research project. Additional ancillary data were collected at each site location to support a broader research base and more thoroughly document site history conditions. Not all of the field data were utilized or reported in this paper.
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