Using field survey and remote sensing to assess rainforest canopy damage following Cyclone Larry

Moore, Nicole J., and Gillieson, David S. (2008) Using field survey and remote sensing to assess rainforest canopy damage following Cyclone Larry. Austral Ecology, 33 (4). pp. 417-431.

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We surveyed canopy damage in upland and lowland rainforests following Cyclone Larry, which severely impacted the Innisfail and Atherton Tableland regions in March 2006. An existing damage-classification was used as a basis for field assessment of rainforest canopy damage. Our field measurements showed that the damage categories were not clearly separated. Upland and lowland sites significantly differed in tree fall variables and measures of forest structure. There was a difference in recruitment of disturbance indicator species owing to varying levels of coarse woody debris at sites. Aspect was not found to be a significant variable in predicting damage owing to complexity of topography and the cyclone wind field. Analysis of remotely sensed imagery indicated that only high damage levels could be reliably discerned. Areas of very rapid vegetation growth in severely damaged sites are most easily detected with vegetation indices based on both near infrared and short wave infrared data. Numbers of fallen trees and their trunk orientations can be reliably quantified using high resolution (sub-metre) colour aerial photography. This permits some estimation of whether the wind field was unidirectional or locally vortical.

Item ID: 5366
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1442-9993
Keywords: cyclone; damage; hurricane; rainforest; remote sensing
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2009 05:41
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960906 Forest and Woodlands Land Management @ 100%
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