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VEGETATION COVER

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    For some time, Remote Sensing Sciences, has produced Foliage Projective Cover (FPC) using a model applied to Landsat surface reflectance imagery, calibrated by field observations. An updated model was developed which relates field measurements of FPC to 2-year time series of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) computed from Landsat seasonal surface reflectance composites. The model is intended to be applied to Landsat and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery, given their similar spectral characteristics. However, due to insufficient field data coincident with the Sentinel-2 satellite program, the model was fitted on Landsat imagery using a significantly expanded, national set of field data than was used for the previous Landsat FPC model fitting. The FPC model relates the field measured green fraction of mid- and over-storey foliage cover to the minimum value of NDVI calculated from 2-years of Landsat seasonal surface reflectance composites. NDVI is a standard vegetation index used in remote sensing which is highly correlated with vegetation photosynthesis. The model is then applied to analogous Sentinel-2 seasonal surface reflectance composites to produce an FPC image at Sentinel-2 spatial resolution (i.e. 10 m) using the radiometric relationships established between Sentinel-2 and Landsat in Flood (2017). This is intended to represent the FPC for that 2-year period rather than any single date, hence the date range in the dataset file name. The dataset is generally expected to provide a reasonable estimate of the range of FPC values for any given stand of woody vegetation, but it is expected there will be over- and under-estimation of absolute FPC values for any specific location (i.e. pixel) due to a range of factors. The FPC model is sensitive to fluctuations in vegetation greenness, leading to anomalies such as high FPC on irrigated pastures or locations with very green herbaceous or grass understoreys. A given pixel in the FPC image, represents the predicted FPC in the season with the least green/driest vegetation cover over the 2-year period assumed to be that with the least influence of seasonally variable herbaceous vegetation and grasses on the more seasonally stable woody FPC estimates. The two-year period was used partly because it represents a period relative to tree growth but was also constrained due to the limited availability of imagery in the early Sentinel-2 time series. The FPC dataset is constrained by the woody vegetation extent dataset for the FPC year.

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    The woody vegetation extent for Queensland is attributed with an estimated age in years since the last significant disturbance. The method uses a sequential Conditional Random Fields classifier applied to Landsat time series starting 1988 to predict woody cover over the time period. A set of heuristic rules is used to detect and track regrowing woody vegetation in the time series of woody probabilities and record the approximate start and end dates of the most recent regrowth event. Regrowth detection is combined with the Statewide Land and Trees Study (SLATS) Landsat historic clearing data to provide a preliminary estimate of age since disturbance for each woody pixel in the woody extent. The 'last disturbance' may be due to a clearing event or other disturbance such as fire, flood, drought-related death etc. Note that not all recorded disturbances may result in complete loss of woody vegetation, so the estimated age since disturbance does not always represent the age of the ecosystem. The age since disturbance product is derived from multiple satellite image sources and derived products which represent different scales and resolutions: Landsat (30 m), Sentinel-2 (10 m) and Earth-i (1 m).

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    This product has been superseded and will not be processed from early 2023. Please find the updated version 3 of this product at https://portal.tern.org.au/metadata/24070. Two fractional cover decile products, green cover and total cover, are currently produced from the historical timeseries of seasonal fractional cover images. These products compare, at the per-pixel level, the level of cover for the specific season of interest against the long term cover for that same season. For each pixel, all cover values for the relevant seasons within a baseline period (1988 to 2013) are classified into deciles. The cover value for the pixel in the season of interest is then classified according to the decile in which it falls.

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    <p>Hemispherical photography has been collected across Australia to characterise plant canopy cover and structure, and to study leaf area index. Hemispherical photography is a technique for quantifying plant canopies via photographs captured through a digital camera with hemispherical or fisheye lens. Such photographs can be captured from beneath the canopy, looking upwards, (orientated towards zenith) or above the canopy looking downwards. These measurements have typically been collected in conjunction with the Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS) star transects field data together with plant canopy analysers such as LAI-2200 and CI-110.</p> <p>Data can be downloaded from https://field.jrsrp.com/ by selecting the combination Field and Hemispheric imagery. Photographs can be accesed through the right-hand side panel, or by finding the file_loc attribute in the csv file. </p>

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    An estimate of persistent green cover per season across Australia from 1989 to the present season, minus 2 years. This is intended to estimate the portion of vegetation that does not completely senesce within a year, which primarily consists of woody vegetation (trees and shrubs), although there are exceptions where non-woody cover remains green all year round. It is derived by fitting a multi-iteration minimum weighted smoothing spline through the green fraction of the seasonal fractional cover (dp1) time series. A single band image is produced: persistent green vegetation cover (in percent). The no data value is 255.

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    Foliage Projective Cover (FPC) is the percentage of ground area occupied by the vertical projection of foliage. The Remote Sensing Centre FPC mapping is based on regression models applied to dry season (May to October) Landsat-5 TM, Landsat-7 ETM+ and Landsat-8 OLI imagery for the period 1988-2014. An annual woody spectral index image is created for each year using a multiple regression model trained from field data collected mostly over the period 1996-1999. A robust regression of the time series of the annual woody spectral index is then performed. The estimated foliage projective cover is the prediction at the date of the selected dry season image for 2014. Where this deviates significantly from the woody spectral index for that date, further tests are undertaken before this estimate is accepted. In some cases, the final estimate is the woody spectral index value rather than the robust regression prediction. The product is further masked to remove areas classified as non-woody.

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    The MODIS Land Condition Index (LCI) is an index of total vegetation cover (green and non-photosynthetic vegetation ), and so is also an index of soil exposure. The LCI is a normalised difference index based on MODIS bands in the mid-infrared portion of the spectrum. The index is produced from 500-m MODIS nadir BRDF adjusted reflectance (NBAR) data. As with all products derived from passive remote sensing imagery, this product represents the world as seen from above. Therefore, the cover recorded by this product represent what would be observed from a birds-eye-view. Therefore, dense canopy may prevent observation of significant soil exposure.

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    This product has been superseded and will not be processed from early 2023. Please find the updated version 3 of this product here <a href="https://portal.tern.org.au/metadata/24072">Seasonal dynamic reference cover method - Landsat, JRSRP algorithm version 3.0, Queensland Coverage</a>. The seasonal dynamic reference cover method images are created using a modified version of the dynamic reference cover method developed by <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2012.02.021">Bastin et al (2012)</a>. This approach calculates a minimum ground cover image over all years to identify locations of most persistent ground cover in years with the lowest rainfall, then uses a moving window approach to calculate the difference between the window's central pixel and its surrounding reference pixels. The output is a difference image between the cover amount of a pixel's reference pixels and the actual cover at that pixel for the season being analysed. Negative values indicate pixels which have less cover than the reference pixels. <br> The main differences between this method and the original method are that this method uses seasonal fractional ground cover rather than the preceding ground cover index (GCI) and this method excludes cleared areas and certain landforms (undulating slopes), which are considered unsuitable for use as reference pixels.

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    The linear seasonal persistent green trend is derived from analysis of the seasonal persistent green product over time. The current version is based on the 1987-2014 period. <br> Seasonal persistent green cover is derived from seasonal fractional cover using a weighted smooth spline fitting routine. This weights a smooth line to the minimum values of the seasonal green cover. This smooth minimum is designed to represent the slower changing green component, ideally consisting of perennial vegetation including over-storey, mid-storey and persistent ground cover. The seasonal persistent green is then summarized using simple linear regression, and the slope of the fitted line is captured in this product. The original units are percentage points per year. Values are later truncated and scaled.

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    Digital Cover Photography (DCP) upward-looking images will be collected up to twice per year to capture vegetation cover at Boyagin Wandoo Woodland SuperSite. These images can be used to estimate Leaf area index (LAI), Crown Cover or Foliage Projective Cover (FPC). The Boyagin Wandoo Woodland SuperSite was established in 2017 in Wandoo Woodland, which is surrounded by broadacre farming. About 80% of the overstorey cover is <em>Eucalyptus accedens</em>. For additional site information, see https://www.tern.org.au/tern-observatory/tern-ecosystem-processes/boyagin-wandoo-woodland-supersite/ . Digital Hemispheric Photography (DHP) has also been collected at Boyagin SuperSite.