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Ground-truth and large-scale 70 mm aerial photographs in the study of reindeer winter rangeland, Tuktoyaktuk Penninsula Area, N.W.T. Sims, R. A.


Reindeer (Eangifev tarandus tarandus L.) winter rangeland in the Tuktoy-aktuk Peninsula area, N.W.T., was studied using a ground-truth/large-scale (1:1,400-1:3,400) remote sensing program. Ground-truth of vegetation, soils and general environment was conducted at 112 representative sites located throughout the study area. Two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN) of vegetation cover by 420 plant taxa assigned sites among four broadly-defined 'vegetation groups'. The vegetation groups could be considered as ecosystemic units since they are also differentiated by a range of site parameters, including slope position classes, general cover features measured in 10 m x 10 m plots, mineral soil texture classes, the occurrence of organic soils and ice-wedge polygons, and certain soil physical and chemical parameters. Lichens are of particular importance as the winter diet mainstay for the reindeer, and differences among vegetation groups are reflected by dominant lichen taxa, and lichen ground cover, biomass and standing crop estimates. Lichen cover at sites ranged up to 89.3% and, for sites where lichen cover >20%, standing crop ranged from 194.4 to 6,377.6 kg.ha⁻¹. Large-scale colour-infrared (CIR) 70 mm stereo photographs were acquired throughout the study area along 44 flightlines, and a total of 1,469 photo-frames were interpreted and inventoried. Data were summarized according to 7 reindeer management zones defined within the study area.

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