Ecological habitat mapping of the AOSERP study area: Phase I

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  • The purpose of this study was to prepare ecological habitat working maps at a scale of 1:50,000 from false colour infrared photographs of the AOSERP study area obtained in 1977, and to evaluate multispectral and multistage remote sensing techniques for application to mapping and monitoring in the study area. A classification system was devised for mapping vegetation and surficial geology from the 1:60,000 scale false colour infrared photographs; base maps plus a vegetation overlay and a surficial geology overlay were created based on the standard NTS 1:50,000 topographic sheets of the AOSERP study area. Where NTS topographic coverage was not available, similar maps were created from other sources. The development of the legend systems, the vegetation and surficial geology, and their integration in the study area are described in detail. Photo interpretation keys are included. Multispectral and multistage remote sensing evaluation for ecological habitat mapping and ecological monitoring was accomplished in a systematic manner. Ecological parameters of importance for mapping and monitoring in the AOSERP study area were identified, and the value of various remote sensors, scales and dates of data acquisition estimated using a simple ranking system. An analysis of Landsat analogue imagery is included, as is discussion of several types of aerial photography and thermal infrared imagery. The potential for the use of automated ecological mapping is evaluated. A demonstration of geocoding of the map sheet is presented, and the value of digital analysis of Landsat data and aerial photography data discussed as applied to ecological mapping and monitoring. Finally conclusions are drawn based on the study and map preparation, and recommendations are given for completion of the ecological habitat mapping of the area, establishment of a remote sensing-based monitoring program, and demonstration of automated ecological mapping as a forerunner to a computer-based information for the Alberta Oil Sands Environmental Research Program.

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