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  • Field Studies
    Recent Field Studies
    Completed Field Studies
    Bradley, B. 2007. Short term impacts of changing grazing regime in central Idaho detected with remote sensing. Princeton University. Princeton, NJ.

    Abstract:  In this study, we use remote sensing to identify landscape scale changes in Landsat TM-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a proxy for community greenness, following changes in land use in south-central Idaho. Grazing allotments in the study area have been managed by Lava Lake Land & Livestock since 2001, and recent landscape-scale changes include reduced grazing intensity, longer rest periods, and reduced grazing in riparian zones. Additionally, sheep bands owned by Lava Lake were collared with GPS receivers to track their daily locations during the 2004-2005 summer grazing seasons. We found that increased NDVI was more likely to occur adjacent to riparian channels, which have been a focus for ecological recovery by land managers at Lava Lake. Decreased NDVI was most likely within 500 m of sheep grazing. However, the extent of impact differed depending on land use and elevation. Decreased NDVI on allotments with a large reduction in total sheep numbers was most likely within only 60-150 m. Grazing on lands at elevations above 2300 m had no relationship to decreased NDVI. Our results suggest that grazing impacts are heterogeneous across the landscape, and depend strongly on stocking rates and elevation (which is correlated to precipitation). Spatial analysis of NDVI change can identify landscape-scale processes that may not be apparent from local monitoring. Patterns of change identified with remote sensing can guide ecosystem monitoring across extensive public and private lands.

    Recent Field Studies

    Ecological Assessments and Research Supported by the Lava Lake Institute:

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    Bradley, B. 2007. Short term impacts of changing grazing regime in central Idaho detected with remote sensing. Princeton University. Princeton, NJ.
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    Bunting, S. and E. Strand. 2008 Enhancing spatial heterogeneity of grazed landscapes: implications to the fire fuel matrix. University of Idaho. Moscow, ID.
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    Carlisle, J. 2007. Analysis of riparian bird population changes in the Pioneer Mountain Foothills at Lava Lake Ranch from 2001-2007. Boise, ID.
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    Caselton Lowe, C. 2008. An examination of insect communities and their response to changes in vegetation structure with emphasis on Coleoptera and Hymenoptera in a sagebrush steppe habitat in south-central Idaho. Master
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    Karl, J, K. Colson, A.R. Sands, and B. Unnasch. 2008. The Landscape Toolbox: Integrating Tools and Methods for Effective Rangeland Management at Multiple Spatial Scales. The Nature Conservancy, Boise, ID.
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    O'Sullivan, M.T., K. Murray, and S. Bergen. 2009. Maintaining Connectivity for Wide-Ranging Species: Pronghorn Migration Routes and Crucial Habitat in the Lost River Sinks Landscape. Hailey, ID.
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    Pollock, M. 2009.  Effects of sheep grazing and habitat composition on Brewer's sparrow and vesper sparrow habitat selection and breeding success in mountain big sagebrush steppe. Master
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    Strand, E., S. Bunting, and M.T. O'Sullivan. 2008. Change detection in quaking aspen using current and historical aerial photography. University of Idaho. Moscow, ID.
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    Wijayrante, U.C. and D. A. Pyke. 2007. Investigating seed longevity of Mountain and Wyoming Big Sagebrush. Forest and Rangeland ecosystem Science Center, USGS. Corvallis, OR.
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    Zaroban, D. 2008. Distribution, habitat use, ranging behavior, and disturbances influencing the Wood River sculpin. Department of Environmental Quality. Boise, ID.
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    P. O. Box 2249 • Hailey, Idaho 83333 • Phone 208.788.1378 • Fax 208.788.1264 • info@lavalakeinstitute.org
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