Monitoring tropical wetlands and grasslands using satellite data
In Uganda, it is difficult for satellites to tell papyrus wetlands from grasslands dominated by "elephant grass". We tested using differences in temperature, topography, and light absorption to separate papyrus and elephant grass in satellite images. We also measured change in six habitat types inside and around Kibale National Park over the last 25 years.
Inside the park, reforestation decreased grasslands, while papyrus areas were more or less stable. Outside the park, elephant grass and papyrus decreased by 61% and 39%, mostly from conversion to agriculture and especially in recent years. Our method and findings will help local researchers and managers monitor and conserve wetlands and grasslands. Published in ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.