Riparian areas occupy a relatively small fraction of the national landscape and yet they provide a disproportionately high level of ecosystem services. Data collection using traditional field-based methods in riparian areas can be difficult and expensive. Remote sensing methods may provide an opportunity to collect data in a consistent, economical manner while providing the required level of data quality. This website is designed to provide resource managers with a broad overview of remote sensing methods applicable to the mapping, monitoring, and inventorying riparian areas and to aid in the selection of the remote sensing method appropriate to the respective business needs.
Select from one of the categories below to learn about these methods.
Mapping serves to identify and document the location of riparian areas and can capture additional information such as the types of vegetation in those areas.
Monitoring introduces a temporal aspect to mapping activities, allowing the resource manager to track and respond to changes over time. Once riparian areas are identified through mapping efforts, those areas which need further attention can be identified and monitored with remote sensing methods.
Remote sensing can aid in the inventory process by stratifying the riparian landscape as part of a sample design to inventory a certain aspect of the riparian environment. Mapping activities, for example, identify and locate the riparian areas and types of riparian vegetation. These products can be sampled to quantify amounts, thereby helping resource managers make assessments and comparisons.