Remote Sensing Applications and Decision Support

Integration of remote sensing and conventional models for modeling grazing/browsing capacity in southern African savannas

[+] Author Affiliations
Clement Adjorlolo

South African National Space Agency (SANSA), SANSA Earth Observation, Pretoria 0087, P.O. Box 484, Silverton 0127, South Africa

Jacobus Oosthuizen Botha

Natural Resources Section, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs, Private Bag X9059, Pietermaritzburg 3200, South Africa

J. Appl. Remote Sens. 9(1), 096041 (Jun 08, 2015). doi:10.1117/1.JRS.9.096041
History: Received December 9, 2014; Accepted May 8, 2015
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Abstract.  Woody vegetation encroachment into grasslands or bush thickening is transforming the southern African grassland systems into savanna-like landscapes. Estimation of woody plant density and canopy biomass is important to rangeland scientists for assessing the impact on grass production and for calculating grazing and browsing capacity. We investigated the utility of remote sensing data for modeling grazing and browsing capacity at landscape level. Tree density or tree equivalents (TEs) and total leaf mass (LMASS) data, derived using the biomass estimation for canopy volume program, were assessed. The random forest (RF) regression algorithm was evaluated to predict TE and LMASS using vegetation indices calculated on red and near-infrared bands of Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre-5. The RF model predicted LMASS with R2=0.64 and a root mean square error (RMSE) of 1256kg/ha compared to a mean of 2291kg/ha. TE was predicted with R2=0.56 and a RMSE of 1614TE/ha compared to a mean of 3746TE/ha. Next, maps of LMASS/ha and TE/ha were derived using separate RF models. The resultant maps were then used in conventional grazing and browsing capacity models. The study provides a sound platform for integrating available and future remote sensing data into rangeland carrying capacity modeling and monitoring.

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© 2015 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Clement Adjorlolo and Jacobus Oosthuizen Botha
"Integration of remote sensing and conventional models for modeling grazing/browsing capacity in southern African savannas", J. Appl. Remote Sens. 9(1), 096041 (Jun 08, 2015). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JRS.9.096041


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