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Development and assessment of remotely derived variables in current southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis Zimm.) hazard mapping in North Carolina, USA
Moan, Jason Edward
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The southern pine beetle (SPB) (Dendroctonus frontalis Zimm.) is one of the most destructive forest insect pests in the southeastern United States and has historically had a large impact on the forests of North Carolina. Many characteristics of a forest can contribute to SPB susceptibility including stand density, growth rate, age, soil type, and position on the landscape. This work was undertaken in an effort to assist and improve on the current federal SPB hazard modeling being conducted for North Carolina by the USDA Forest Service â Forest Health Protectionâ s Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team (FHTET). In our study, predictive SPB susceptibility models were developed for each physiographic region in North Carolina using two variables not currently included in the FHTET modeling, mean stand age and the in-stand percentage of sawtimber-sized pines. These variables were obtained from USDA Forest Service â Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data and North Carolina Forest Service historical SPB records creating a dataset of both infested and non-infested stands and the models were developed using the CARTÂ® classification tree approach. Two model-derived age classes (older than and younger than 22 years) were identified on the landscape using current Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery chronosequences of disturbance index (DI) â transformed scenes to identify stand-replacing disturbances, resulting in a kappa statistic of 0.6364 for the younger than 22 year age class and 0.7778 for the older than 22 years age class. A kappa value of 1 is ideal. The CARTÂ® modeling effort produced valid models in all three physiographic regions of North Carolina, though the complexity of the piedmont model makes it impractical for use in the field. The dependent variable in the classification tree was presence or absence of SPB outbreak and the test sample error percentages were similar across regions, with errors ranging between 23.76 - 34.95 percent. Overall prediction success, based on the softwareâ s internal cross-validation procedure, was likewise comparable across the regions with 72.28 - 89.56 percent correctly predicted. Based on our modeling, stand age and percent sawtimber should be included in future FHTET SPB hazard modeling efforts for the coastal plain and mountains, respectively. Age classes can be reasonably estimated using Landsat or other multispectral imagery.
- Masters Theses