New peer-reviewed article on vernal pool detection

An Effective Method for Detecting Potential Woodland Vernal Pools Using High-Resolution LiDAR Data and Aerial Imagery

Qiusheng Wu 1,3,* , Charles Lane 2 and Hongxing Liu 3

Abstract: Effective conservation of woodland vernal pools—important components of regional amphibian diversity and ecosystem services—depends on locating and mapping these pools accurately. Current methods for identifying potential vernal pools are primarily based on visual interpretation and digitization of aerial photographs, with variable accuracy and low repeatability. In this paper, we present an effective and efficient method for detecting and mapping potential vernal pools using stochastic depression analysis with additional geospatial analysis. Our method was designed to take advantage of high-resolution light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data, which are becoming increasingly available, though not yet frequently employed in vernal pool studies. We successfully detected more than 2000 potential vernal pools in a ~150 km2 study area in eastern Massachusetts. The accuracy assessment in our study indicated that the commission rates ranged from 2.5% to 6.0%, while the proxy omission rate was 8.2%, rates that are much lower than reported errors of previous vernal pool studies conducted in the northeastern United States. One significant advantage of our semi-automated approach for vernal pool identification is that it may reduce inconsistencies and alleviate repeatability concerns associated with manual photointerpretation methods. Another strength of our strategy is that, in addition to detecting the point-based vernal pool locations for the inventory, the boundaries of vernal pools can be extracted as polygon features to characterize their geometric properties, which are not available in the current statewide vernal pool databases in Massachusetts.

About Qiusheng Wu

Assistant Professor of Geography at Binghamton University, State University of New York

Posted on November 19, 2014, in Algorithms, GIS/RS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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