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Modeling Above-Ground Biomass in Tallgrass Prairie Using Ultra-High Spatial Resolution sUAS Imagery

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We examined the relationship between tallgrass above-ground biomass (AGB) and NDVI from ultra-high spatial resolution multispectral imagery collected by small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS). This study was conducted at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Chase County, Kansas. Results show that NDVI values computed from sUAS imagery explained up to 94 percent of the variance (p<0.01) in AGB measurements. The model coefficient of determination (r2) decreased with increasing aircraft flight altitude suggesting image spatial resolution is a key factor influencing the strength of the relationship. A scaling-up approach from small-scale sUAS imagery to broad-scale, digital aerial imagery collected at 1,200 meters by a piloted aircraft was used to provide AGB model estimates across the entire 4,500 ha of the Preserve. Spectral reflectance data measured by spectroradiometer were also used to identify three optimal regions of the spectrum that have the highest significant correlations with tallgrass AGB.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2014-12-01

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  • The official journal of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing - the Imaging and Geospatial Information Society (ASPRS). This highly respected publication covers all facets of photogrammetry and remote sensing methods and technologies.

    Founded in 1934, the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) is a scientific association serving over 7,000 professional members around the world. Our mission is to advance knowledge and improve understanding of mapping sciences to promote the responsible applications of photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and supporting technologies.
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