Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Northeastern forests are being impacted by unprecedented environmental stressors, including acid deposition, invasive pests, and climate change. Forest health monitoring at a landscape scale is necessary to evaluate the changing condition of forest resources and to inform management of forest stressors. Traditional forest health monitoring is often limited to specific sites experiencing catastrophic decline or widespread mortality. Satellite remote sensing can complement these efforts by providing comprehensive forest health assessments over broad regions. Subtle changes in canopy health can be monitored over time by applying spectral vegetation indices to multitemporal satellite imagery. This project used historical archives of Landsat-5 TM imagery and geographic information systems to examine forest health trends in the northern Green Mountains of Vermont from 1984 to 2009. Results indicate that canopy health has remained relatively stable across most of the landscape, although decline was present in localized areas. Significant but weak relationships were discovered between declining forest health and spruce-fir-paper birch forests at high elevations. Possible causes of decline include the interacting effects of acid deposition, windthrow, and stressful growing environments typical of montane forests.
Olson, Michael G., "Remote Sensing of Forest Health Trends in the Northern Green Mountains of Vermont" (2012). Graduate College Dissertations and Theses. 172.