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Rangeland Vegetation Map Products in Oregon

The following is a curated list of vegetation map products (as of February 2019) that are most applicable to upland rangeland vegetation assessment and management applications within the state of Oregon. This list is curated for the SageCon Partnership by the Institute for Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy, and views represent the best understanding of the authors for management applications within Oregon, and may not be representative of other applications or geographies.

Also see the guidance document for tips on understanding remotely sensed maps and best practices for evaluating different map products.

Southeast Oregon NN Vegetation Composition Map  

Image of sage-grouse data viewer

Produced by: Institute for Natural Resources, 2018
Description: This product provides a wide range of mapped attributes depicting percent cover of vegetation components across the rangelands in Oregon. It uses a nearest neighbor (NN) imputation approach to join vegetation plot data (percent cover by species) to pixels based on remotely sensed imagery and other data layers such as soils, topography, and slope. This approach allows flexibility in how vegetation is summarized; for instance, grasses can be summarized into categories including perennial grasses, deep-rooted perennial grasses, invasive annual grasses, seeded non-native grasses, and others.
Map product(s) available: Primary maps include: Threat-based model ecostate map, Perennial grass cover, Invasive annual grass cover, Sagebrush cover, and Tree cover. Note that there are also maps of various other functional groups (e.g. Seeded grass cover, Early seral shrub cover, etc) and individual cover maps for the top 100 most common species.
Spatial extent: All rangelands in Oregon
Time frame: Single time frame representing 2012-2017. Update frequency is unknown, but may be remapped every 3-5 years.
Imagery source: Primarily Landsat satellite imagery with the addition of texture metrics derived from NAIP air photos (see Western juniper canopy cover in Oregon, below).
Plot data source: Most plots were from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Assessment Inventory and Monitoring (AIM) (years 2016-2017) and Landscape Monitoring Framework (LMF) (years 2011-2015), with a few other sources (listed in the documentation).
Web viewer: Oregon Sage-Grouse Data Viewer
Data download: All maps are downloadable through the Oregon Sage-Grouse Data Viewer or direct data download link.
Accuracy and precision notes: This map may have lower spatial precision than other maps (i.e., may not reproduce fine-scale spatial patterns as well). However, it should be summarized at scales of 10,000 acres or greater, with accuracy levels varying depending on the variable being mapped. The distribution of values is unbiased, meaning that the full range of data values will be present in the map in appropriate proportions, and absences and high cover values are both well-represented in appropriate proportions. Accuracy assessments describing both precision and accuracy for all distributed variables are included with the documentation.
Documentation: Documentation and accuracy assessment available online (currently through data download link).
Publication: Manuscript in peer review.

Oregon Sage-Grouse Threat Based Framework MappingImage of Sage-Grouse Threat Based Framework Map

Produced by: Open Range Consulting, 2018
Description: This product uses a proprietary process called Earth Sense Technology to create "ABCD maps" of ecological states from a threat-based model across 8 sage-grouse priority areas for conservation (PACs). Maps were developed based on photo points categorized into ABCD states (rather than continuous percent cover data used in many other products).
Map product(s) available: ABCD map for overall area, Individual ABCD maps for each of 8 sage-grouse PACs. Maps are categorical, with 11 categories.
Spatial extent: Covers roughly 2/3 of Oregon rangelands, excluding SE and NW portions.
Time frame: Single time frame representing 2016-2017. Update frequency is unknown.
Imagery source: 2014 and 2016 NAIP air photos.
Plot data source: No plot data, modeling was based on photo points.
Web viewer: None.
Data download: No public download, but data will be downloadable in future.
Accuracy and precision notes: Maps for individual PACs were developed to have the best accuracies for each PAC and can be used separately for individual areas. The overall dataset was created to have seamless coverage across all PACs, but has lower accuracy over the larger area. Overall accuracy percentage for each area is provided in the documentation.
Documentation: Documentation provided as a PDF file with data.
Publication: Sant, E.D., Simonds, G.E., Ramsey, R.D and Larsen, R.T. 2014. Assessment of sagebrush cover using remote sensing at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Ecological Indicators 43: 297–305.

Rangeland Analysis Platform Image of rangeland analysis map viewer

Produced by: University of Montana, 2018
Description: This product provides continuous cover maps of major rangeland vegetation functional groups at yearly intervals from 1984 to 2017 across the western US. The mapping process merges machine learning and cloud-based computing with remote sensing and field data to provide continuous vegetation cover maps. It is the only rangeland vegetation product available with a time series spanning over 30 years.
Map product(s) available: Annual forbs and grasses, Perennial forbs and grasses, Shrubs, Trees, Bare ground.
Spatial extent: Western US, including all Oregon rangelands.
Time frame: Yearly maps for all years from 1984-2017. Maps will be updated annually in the future.
Imagery source: Landsat satellite imagery.
Plot data source: Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) plots, BLM AIM plots and LMF plots,
Web viewer: A public web viewer allows users to view data layers in an interactive map and generate graphs of average values for each year across a user-defined area of interest.
Data download: Data cannot be downloaded. Data can be viewed in ArcGIS by following the instructions here, but values cannot be identified and data cannot be used in analysis.
Accuracy and precision notes: Precision is reported in the citation and is relatively high across the western US. Therefore, this product may depict spatial patterns fairly well, but the level of precision specific to Oregon is unclear given the broad extent of the dataset. However, predicted cover values are consistently underestimated compared to field-measured cover values, and therefore maps should generally be interpreted on a relative scale (e.g., identifying areas with relatively high and low values) rather than an absolute scale (e.g., using maps to identify areas above a 10% cover threshold). Error ranges are provided for each mapped functional group. In some years and some places, artifacts of the satellite imagery appear as stripes or gaps that do not reflect cover differences on the ground.
Documentation: Documentation is provided on the web viewer and the publication (below).
Publication: Jones, M.O., B.W. Allred, D.E. Naugle, et al. 2018. Innovation in rangeland monitoring: annual, 30m, plant functional type percent cover maps for US rangelands, 1984–2017. Ecosphere 9:e02430.

Near-Real-Time Herbaceous Annual Cover in the Great BasinScreenshot of herbaceous annual cover map

Produced by: United States Geological Survey, 2018
Description: Maps provide near-real-time spatial estimates of herbaceous annual vegetation percent cover across the Great Basin at multiple time points each year (May and June/July). Maps are based on Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which provides an estimate of vegetation greenness. Maps are produced each year by late May to help inform fire suppression activities and other management activities, such as application of weed suppressive bacteria, targeted grazing, and other cheatgrass control measures.
Map product(s) available: Herbaceous annual cover.
Spatial extent: Western US, including all Oregon rangelands.
Time frame: Multiple maps of spring conditions. Maps are produced for multiple months within each spring (past products include July 2018, May 2018, June 2017, May 2017). Updates are planned in early and late spring each year.
Imagery source: Enhanced Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (eMODIS) imagery.
Plot data source: Unknown.
Web viewer: None.
Data download: Data download available from Sciencebase.
Accuracy and precision notes: Some information on model precision can be found in the summary and metadata. Values in the map represent relative abundances, which can vary from field-measured cover values. Maps should generally be interpreted on a relative scale (e.g., identifying areas with relatively high and low values) rather than an absolute scale (e.g., using maps to identify areas above a 10% cover threshold). The spatial resolution (cell size) is 250m, making it less suitable for landscapes with complex topographic or other spatial features. Comparing this dataset to others with different spatial resolutions (e.g., 30m pixels) may reveal substantial differences in pixel values.
Documentation: Documentation in the publication and Sciencebase.
Publication: Boyte, S.P, B.K. Wylie, and D.J. Major. 2016. Cheatgrass percent cover change: Comparing recent estimates to climate change-driven predictions in the northern Great Basin. Rangeland Ecology and Management 69:265-279.

Multi-Resolution Land Cover (MRLC) Characteristics Shrubland ProductsScreenshot of MLRC shrubland vegetation map

Produced by: Multi-Resolution Land Cover Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium, 2019
Description: The MRLC map products characterize shrubland vegetation across the Western United States by quantifying the proportion of shrub, sagebrush, herbaceous, annual herbaceous, litter, and bare ground, as well as the height of shrubs and sagebrush.
Map product(s) available: Fractional cover of shrub, sagebrush, big sagebrush, herbaceous, annual herbaceous, bare ground, litter, shrub height, and sagebrush height.
Spatial extent: Western US, including all Oregon rangelands.
Time frame: Maps represent 2016 conditions. Updates are planned every 5 years.
Imagery source: WorldView-2 and Landsat 8 imagery.
Plot data source: Independent training and validation plots collected.
Web viewer: MRLC Interactive Viewer.
Data download: Data are downloadable from the MRLC Shrubland Data page.
Accuracy and precision notes: Error estimates for each mapped component can be found in the metadata. Values in the map represent modled fractional cover of rangeland components in every pixel, which may vary from field-measured cover values. Model accuracy can vary spatially. Maps should generally be interpreted on a relative scale (e.g., identifying areas with relatively high and low values) rather than an absolute scale (e.g., using maps to identify areas above a 10% cover threshold). Height maps have the lowest accuracy.
Documentation: Documentation, including information about the methodology and accuracy of the products, is in the metadata associated with each map.
Publication: A list of related publications is provided on the MRLC website. Primary citation: Xian, G., Homer, C. Rigge, M., Shi, H., and D. Meyer. 2015. Characterization of shrubland ecosystem components as continuous fields in the northwest United States. Remote Sensing of Environment 168: 286-300.

Western Juniper Canopy Cover in OregonScreenshot of juniper cover map

Produced by: Institute for Natural Resources, 2016
Description: A suite of juniper and tree mapping products have been developed for the state of Oregon using nested texture metrics derived from Natural Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) imagery. The Western juniper canopy cover dataset provides cover estimate for juniper over 7’ in height across eastern Oregon and may be particularly useful for characterizing juniper cover.
Map product(s) available: Western juniper canopy cover, Western juniper basal area, Western juniper estimated maximum age, Western juniper density (multiple maps for size classes), Tree cover within the range of western juniper, Western juniper presence, Southeast Oregon ancient juniper.
Spatial extent: Eastern Oregon.
Time frame: Single time frame representing 2012-2013.
Imagery source: NAIP air photos and Landsat 8 satellite imagery.
Plot data source:  US Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) plot data and LiDAR height estimates, where available.
Web viewer: None.
Data download: The full list of juniper data can be downloaded through the Oregon Spatial Data Library. The Western juniper canopy cover layer for Oregon is linked directly here.
Accuracy and precision notes: The Oregon juniper and tree maps have relatively high precision in depicting spatial patterns and relatively high accuracy in predicting the range of cover values found in plot data. Other tree species are sometimes confused for juniper in the maps, and in some versions of the map other features (e.g. roads) may cause errors.
Documentation: Documentation can be found on the Conservation Gateway site.
Publication: None.

Tree Canopy Cover (Spatial Wavelet Analysis) In Rangelands

Screenshot of tree cover in rangelands map Produced by: Colorado State University, 2017
Description: High resolution maps of tree canopy cover (1 m resolution) were produced from Natural Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) imagery by using spatial wavelet analysis.
Map product(s) available: Tree canopy cover.
Spatial extent: Western US, including all Oregon rangelands.
Time frame: Single time frame representing 2012-2013.
Imagery source: NAIP air photos.
Plot data source: None.
Web viewer: Map is viewable in an interactive map through the Sage Grouse Initiative Data Viewer.
Data download: Data downloadable by state on the data download page.
Accuracy and precision notes: Accuracy and precision appear to be relatively high for conifer cover, but the accuracy assessment is based on very few validation plots. The maps are targeting conifer cover but may detect non-conifers in some areas. The minimum tree detection size is 2-3m in diameter, meaning very small trees will not be detected.
Documentation: Documentation provided on the data download page and in the publication.
Publication: Falkowski et al. 2017. Mapping tree canopy cover in support of proactive prairie grouse conservation in western North America. Rangeland Ecology & Management 70:15-24.

Other Resources for Rangeland Remote Sensing


Authored by Megan Creutzburg, Institute for Natural Resources, Oregon State University (2019)