Integration of satellite imagery and forest inventory in mapping dominant and associated species at a regional scale

Yangjian Zhang, Hong S. He, William D. Dijak, Jian Yang, Stephen R. Shifley, Brian J. Palik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


To achieve the overall objective of restoring natural environment and sustainable resource usability, each forest management practice effect needs to be predicted using a simulation model. Previous simulation efforts were typically confined to public land. Comprehensive forest management practices entail incorporating interactions between public and private land. To make inclusion of private land into management planning feasible at the regional scale, this study uses a new method of combining Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data with remotely sensed forest group data to retrieve detailed species composition and age information for the Missouri Ozark Highlands. Remote sensed forest group and land form data inferred from topography were integrated to produce distinct combinations (ecotypes). Forest types and size classes were assigned to ecotypes based on their proportions in the FIA data. Then tree species and tree age determined from FIA subplots stratified by forest type and size class were assigned to pixels for the entire study area. The resulting species composition map can improve simulation model performance in that it has spatially explicit and continuous information of dominant and associated species, and tree ages that are unavailable from either satellite imagery or forest inventory data. In addition, the resulting species map revealed that public land and private land in Ozark Highlands differ in species composition and stand size. Shortleaf pine is a co-dominant species in public land, whereas it becomes a minor species in private land. Public forest is older than private forest. Both public and private forests have deviated from historical forest condition in terms of species composition. Based on possible reasons causing the deviation discussed in this study, corresponding management avenues that can assist in restoring natural environment were recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-323
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Ecoregion
  • Forest Inventory and Analysis
  • Land ownership
  • Landsat Thematic Mapper
  • Species composition
  • Stand size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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