Integrating GIS, Remote Sensing, and Citizen Science to Map Oak Decline Risk across the Daniel Boone National Forest

Ellen Crocker, Kumari Gurung, Jared Calvert, C. Dana Nelson, Jian Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Oak decline is a general term used for the progressive dieback and eventual mortality of oak trees due to many compounding stressors, typically a combination of predisposing, inciting, and contributing factors. While pinpointing individual causes of decline in oak trees is a challenge, past studies have identified site and stand characteristics associated with oak decline. In this study, we developed a risk map of oak decline for the Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF), combining GIS, remote sensing (RS), and public reporting (citizen science, CS). Starting with ground reports of decline (CS), we developed a site-scale model (GIS and RS) for oak decline based on four previously identified predisposing factors: elevation, slope, solar radiation, and topographic wetness. We found that areas identified in the model as having a high oak decline risk also reflected areas of observed oak decline (CS). We then optimized and expanded this risk model to the entire range of the DBNF, based on both site characteristics (as piloted for the case study site) and stand inventory data. The stand inventory data (including species composition and age) further improved the model, resulting in a risk map at the landscape level. This case study can serve as a planning tool and highlights the potential usefulness of integrating GIS, remote sensing, and citizen science.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2250
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • GIS
  • Quercus
  • citizen science
  • forest health
  • oak decline
  • remote sensing
  • remote sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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