British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Airborne mapping of vegetation changes in reclaimed areas at Highland Valley between 2001 and 2008 Borstad, Gary A.; Brown, Leslie; Martinez, Mar; Hamaguchi, Bob A.; Dickson, Jaimie; Freberg, Mark


The remote sensing program at Highland Valley Copper provides maps of vegetation for the entire mine site that extend the more detailed but sparse in situ sampling. A unique and growing time series for 7 of the 8 years between 2001 and 2008 allows us to examine vegetation trends over time with good spatial detail. We are able to map areas with similar vegetation types and/or similar histories, and in particular, to identify that attaining reclamation success and those requiring additional attention in order to achieve that state. The resulting maps provide a detailed synopsis of the vegetation trends helpful to reclamation managers. In this study we examine more closely the statistically significant correlation observed between precipitation and remotely sensed vegetation cover at many of the reclamation sites. Analysis suggests that the strength and time scale of the correlation is related to site slope. This is important for site management because it identifies the particular locations most likely to benefit from water retention measures. We also demonstrate the removal of the precipitation-related signal from the remote sensing data in order to derive more desiccation-independent estimates of biomass. We hope to eventually extend this analysis to the entire imaged area and, if successful, incorporate it into our standard analytical protocol.

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