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Assessment of Functional Diversity of a Managed Pine-Oak Forest in Southeastern Oklahoma Using Remote Sensing Techniques

Authors: Nicole Pauley*, Oklahoma State University
Topics: Natural Resources, Remote Sensing, Landscape
Keywords: functional diversity, forest management, remote sensing, lidar
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The implementation of successful and sustainable management strategies is vital for conserving biodiversity and protecting vulnerable ecological communities from a number of anthropogenic effects. To quantify and monitor biodiversity in vegetation communities, trait-based measurements, such as functional diversity, are emerging as effective metrics. Physiological and morphological traits of plants can be measured using remote sensing techniques and used to calculate functional diversity to gain a better understanding of the role of management and disturbance on the functional diversity of a community. The objective of this study is to utilize multispectral imagery and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) to determine relationships between functional diversity and forest management strategies implemented at Pushmataha Forest Habitat Research Demonstration Area (FHRA). FHRA is a well-established mixed pine-oak experimental forest that includes management treatment units with various combinations of selective thinning, prescribed fire, and timber harvest. Across FHRA, I used discrete-return LiDAR data to calculate morphological traits, including Canopy Height, Foliage Height Diversity, and Total Vegetation Density. I calculated physiological traits, including Enhanced Vegetation Index, Chlorophyll Vegetation Index, and Normalized Difference Water Index, using Sentinel-2 multispectral satellite imagery. Preliminary results indicate differences between physiological and morphological traits between FHRA management units. For functional diversity analyses, I will calculate and compare three metrics of functional diversity, functional richness, evenness, and divergence, for each FHRA management unit. Information gained from this study can provide insight on the relationship between management practices and functional diversity, with significant implications for forest management throughout the region.

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