UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Monitoring anthropogenic disturbance trends in an industrialized boreal forest with Landsat time series Pickell, Paul D.; Hermosilla, Txomin; Coops, Nicholas C.; Masek, Jeffrey G.; Franks, Shannon; Huang, Chengquang

Abstract

Human transformation of the terrestrial biosphere via resource utilization is a critical impetus for monitoring and characterizing anthropogenic change to vegetation condition. The primary objective of this research was to detect anthropogenic forest disturbance for a recent Landsat time series. A novel combination of an autonomous change detection procedure and spectral classification scheme was applied and tested in a landscape that has undergone significant resource development over the last 30 years. Anthropogenic disturbance was detected with greater than 93% accuracy. Most disturbances were correctly classified to within ±1 year. The signal of anthropogenic disturbance was significant in the landscape, accounting for more than 91% of all disturbances and 86% of total disturbed area during the 23-year study period. The study demonstrated a robust approach for examining historical disturbance trends related to human-modification of the environment.

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