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Classification of vitality of alluvial forests in arid regions (KTS)

Automatic mapping of vitality of alluvial forests in arid regions using very high-resolution satellite data - Tugay Forests at the lower reaches of Tarim River (Xinjiang, China)
Klaus Tschira Foundation (KTS)
Xinjiang University, Urumqi, P.R. of China, Institute of Resource and Environmental Sciences
January 2005 - February 2007
Research Associate:
Dr. Bodo Coenradie
Dr. Ümüt Halik (Xinjiang University)
Project Lead:
Prof. Dr. Birgit Kleinschmit
Final Report


On the global level, so far China is the only state to initiate large scale restoration schemes for destroyed alluvial forest ecosystems under extremely arid conditions. The Populus euphratica forests along the lower reaches of the Tarim River have not only been subject of such destruction, but - since the early years of the new millennium - they are also a valuable example for restoration ecology (shengtai huifu).

Until recently there has been no research on the vitality (Waldzustandsforschung) of these alluvial plain forest ecosystems (huyanglin) of the Central Asian arid regions. This is especially true for the development of (semi-) auto-matic remote sensing methods for this kind of forest ecosystem.

Therefore the project aims at developing methods to distinguish different stages of degradation for Populus euphratica-(huyanglin) forest ecosystems. The locality of Argan was selected as a representative research site. We are working on a vitality classification for individual trees as well as for extended forest stands, using very high resolution satellite data in combination with extensive ground checks. This procedure should provide the basis for the second step: the development of up-scaling algorithms to combine the highest-resolution QuickBird data with lower resolution data of the SPOT system. The final aim is to arrive at a meaningful tool supporting regular monitoring of Tugai floodplain ecosystems as an integral part of watershed management.

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