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TitleMonitoring cumulative long-term vegetation changes over Athabasca Oil Sands region
AuthorLatifovic, R; Pouliot, D
SourceIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing issue 99, 2014., https://doi.org/10.1109/JSTARS.2014.2321058
Year2014
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20130198
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Documentserial
Lang.English
Mediaon-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceAlberta; Saskatchewan
NTS74D; 74E; 84A; 84H
AreaAthabasca River
Lat/Long WENS-114.0000 -109.0000 58.5000 55.5000
Subjectsgeophysics; environmental geology; Nature and Environment; satellites; remote sensing; environmental impacts; Athabasca oil sands
ProgramLand Surface Characterization, Remote Sensing Science
AbstractThis study uses two remotely sensed vegetation indices to investigate cumulative long-term changes of undisturbed vegetation in the Athabasca Oil Sands region of Alberta, Canada, between 1984 and 2012. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the Normalized Difference Wetness Index (NDWI) were derived from both Landsat and MODIS time series, for comparative purposes and to increase confidence in detected trends. Trend analysis of undisturbed forest areas, i.e., area without abrupt changes revealed a consistent decrease in vegetation condition, quantified by an average reduction of 18.6% (${bf SD} = {bf 5.02%} $) in NDVI and of 31.0% (${bf SD} = {bf 10.06%} $) in NDWI, over the 28-year period. The study does not conclusively associate the trends with any single stressor, but seeks to quantify the spatial and temporal distribution of cumulative effects resulting from a variety of natural and anthropogenic causes. Examination of the temporal pattern of trends showed an increase in the occurrence of decreasing trends in the last 10 years. The decreasing trends were more frequent closer to mining developments for both the Landsat and MODIS time series. Climate change was not considered a major causal factor as climate normalized trends had little effect on the results. The trend analysis undertaken can be used to enhance in situ monitoring programs for site selection of additional monitoring facilities particularly regarding potential cumulative effects, provide an indication of likely future short-term changes in the region, and to aid in the development of mitigation measures.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This study uses satellite Earth Observation to investigate cumulative long-term changes in vegetation condition in the Athabasca Oil Sands region of Alberta, Canada, between 1984 and 2012. Trend analysis of two remotely sensed vegetation indices showed more frequent occurrence of decreasing trends in vegetation condition both during the last 10 years, and closer to the mine developments. In analysing vegetation condition trends, areas of abrupt vegetation change (e.g. forest harvest, forest fire, forest removal for development) were removed. Possible contributions of temperature and precipitation on the trends were explored and found not to be significant. The trend analysis undertaken can be used to enhance in-situ monitoring programs, to increase data collection efforts for investigation of cumulative effects, to provide an indication of likely future short-term changes, and to aid in the development of mitigation measures.
GEOSCAN ID293008