Report on Protocol for Data Collection and Image Processing Targeting Rangeland & Grassland and Cultivated Crops
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In support of dryland ecosystem services, particularly forage production and soil conservation research at ICARDA, the Environmental Tomography Lab of the Department of Agriculture, Veterinary, and Rangeland Science (AVRS) of the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) ICARDA conducted a one-week training and research workshop. The workshop taught ICARDA scientists the novel use of a new terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) technology for the measurement of vegetation and soil three-dimensional (3D) structure and the processing and analysis of the collected data. Three different sites were considered; Al Majidya, Mushaqqar Research Station and the Dana Biosphere Reserve in Jordan. For the effectiveness of wind & water erosion control measures including slope-based shrub planting and micro-catchment establishment in Al Majidya, we hypothesized that a high mean plant height and % canopy cover in planted sites, as well as a stronger surface roughness in areas occupied by shrubs compared to bare soils. We also hypothesized that because the TLS at 1550-nm wavelength was in the plant available water absorption range, that the intensity values would correspond to levels of water availability in cactus that had been selected for different levels of water retention and planted along a gradient. For the reserve, we hypothesized that tree height and canopy cover increases in areas further from tourist trails and pathways, possibly due to the unease of access of the vegetation away from the trails and pathways. Analysis of the data is currently ongoing.