Fortymile Herd Lichen Mapping

Fortymile Herd Lichen Mapping

The distribution and abundance of forage lichen are critical factors influencing the winter movements, distribution, and nutritional ecology of caribou in Alaska. To better understand the spatio-temporal dynamics and nutritional ecology of Fortymile caribou, including identification of important habitats, ABR prepared quantitative maps of lichen cover at multiple spatial scales. We focused on mapping light-colored (i.e., white, yellow, and gray) lichens, which include important forage species (e.g., Cladonia spp.). Tasks included 1) compilation of existing field plot data and high-resolution remote sensing data; 2) assessment of spatial scale and spectral bands for interpreting and mapping lichen cover; 3) ground-truth and analysis of very-high-resolution imagery (<= 10 cm resolution) to characterize lichen cover for representative blocks of alpine and woodland lichen cover; and 4) Landsat-based lichen cover mapping for the Alaska portion of the Fortymile Herd range. 2015-2016

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