The assessment of vegetation damage by remote sensing has reached a fairly sophisticated level. This paper identifies the advantages, pitfalls, current practical applications, and future possibilities of the use of remote sensing for this purpose. Advantages include: (1) the use of many parts of electromagnetic spectrum; (2) the saving of time, money, and manpower; (3) the ability to cover large areas; and (4) the use of successive remote sensing surveys to follow damage trends. Some pitfalls included: (1) the overselling of remote sensing techniques without adequate quantitative data showing errors of estimate at pre-defined confidence limits; (2) using very expensive remote sensing systems on a transitory phenomenon; (3) the inability of some Landsat users to recognize that reflectant values are relative subject to atmospheric attenuation and amplified signals; (4) the poor design of Landsat wavebands for vegetation damage assessment (need a yellow-orange waveband, 0.58 to 0.62 micron); (5) a need for better statistical techniques to check classficiation accuracies; and (6) using color or color infrared films to obtain previsual detection of coniferous tree damage. Current practical applications for assessing vegetation damage include: (1) visual observation techniques (sketch mapping and strip recording); (2) color and color infrared (CIR) photography (both large and very small scale) when properly matched with damage symptom, host type, and atmospheric conditions; (3) multistage sampling; and (4) risk rating systems using aerial photos to define factors such as aspect, slope elevation, and stand density that contribute to susceptibility of vegetation to damaging agents. Future remote sensing possibilities predicted are (1) increasing standardization of color and CIR photography and greater use of small-scale CIR (1:32,000); (2) the availability of lightweight, inexpensive radar and laser altimeters together with better electronic guidance systems for repetitive flights; (3) faster service for receipt of Landsat data products which will be geometrically corrected and enhanced; (4) improved Landsat computer classified images with accuracy statements; (5) better resolution available on Landsat D (thermatic mapper) with narrower wavebands which should improve classificatory procedures and accuracies; and (6) improvements in other sensors such as side-looking radar, charge coupled detectors, and microwave imagers. /Author/

  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Invited paper, Symposium on Remote Sensing for Vegetation Damage Assessment, Seattle, Washington, February 14-16, 1978.
  • Corporate Authors:

    American Society of Photogrammetry

    105 North Virginia Avenue
    Falls Church, VA  United States  22046
  • Authors:
    • Heller, R C
  • Publication Date: 1978-9

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00183222
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 14 1978 12:00AM