Computer digitization of large scale aerial photography and digital analysis for assessing soil disturbance on clearcuts
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): Y. J. Lee
Editor(s): J. R. Warren
Publication Year: 1990

Cataloging Information

  • agriculture
  • Arizona
  • British Columbia
  • Canada
  • clearcutting
  • computer programs
  • disturbance
  • forest management
  • land management
  • litter
  • logging
  • mineral soils
  • photography
  • plant growth
  • remote sensing
  • roads
  • soils
  • trees
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 34708
Tall Timbers Record Number: 8966
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Certain types and degrees of soil disturbance resulting from harvesting activities are known to result in soil degradation and thus in reduced productivity for trees. The present method of survey is a ground-based 'grid-point intercept' system and is time-consuming and costly. The development of remote sensing techniques alone for estimating soil disturbance on the majority of clearcuts would result in greatly increased efficiency and reduced costs. Aerial photography is an appropriate vehicle for determining the area of well defined disturbance such as that caused by landings, roads and skidroads constructed on bare ground. Nonconstructed skidroads and winter-constructed skidroads often have narrow surfaces obscured by woody debris. Special remote sensing techniques allow estimation of these less defined types of disturbance. Aerial photographs and ground survey data for a recent clearcut were processed by a digital image analysis system and estimates made of the proportion of the ground surface in landings, roads and skidroads. These estimates were compared with the ground survey data. To date, preliminary work conducted on 1 : 5 000 color aerial photography from the Cariboo Lake area, in south-central British Columbla, indicated that with operator assistance, the digital imaging process resulted in estimates of the extent of disturbance close to those obtained by a ground survey.

Lee, Y. J. 1990. Computer digitization of large scale aerial photography and digital analysis for assessing soil disturbance on clearcuts, in Warren, J. R., Protecting natural resources with remote sensing: the Third Forest Service Remote Sensing Applications Conference. Tucson, AZ. p. 259-274,