James S. Aber, Firooza Pavri
and Marcia Schulmeister
Earth science research at Emporia State University under the Kansas NASA EPSCoR program is directed toward understanding response of forests and wetlands to climatic events and human impact during the past three decades. This project is part of a larger effort to utilize remote sensing techniques for modeling changes in rural resources of Kansas. HYSPIRE is an attempt to bridge the gap between near-surface, hyper-resolution (submeter) remote sensing and conventional satellite-based remote sensing. Research is conducted in cooperation with Kansas State University and the University of Kansas. Two major remote-sensing projects have been undertaken by faculty and students at Emporia State University.
The Kansas NASA EPSCoR project was completed in Nov. 2004.
Our first NASA EPSCoR grant dealt primarily with upland and bottomland forest conditions at Fort Leavenworth in the northeastern corner of Kansas. This research was conducted from 1996 to 2001 and is now finished. The forest project included Landsat and Ikonos satellite imagery, climatic records, tree-ring cores from oaks, and ground observations in upland (oak) and bottomland (cottonwood) study forests at Fort Leavenworth and other study sites in northeastern Kansas. In addition, we developed techniques in kite aerial photography to acquire low-height, large-scale, hyper-resolution imagery of the forest canopy.
Forest research Fort Leavenworth, KS.
A second NASA EPSCoR grant (2002-2004) focused on remote sensing of wetland habitats. A full spectrum of satellite, aerial, and ground-based techniques was employed for investigation of wetland conditions and human impact. Our primary study site is Cheyenne Bottoms, a large wetland lake/marsh complex in central Kansas. The wetland occupies approximately 64 miles² (166 km²), managed in part by the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife and Parks and partly by the Nature Conservancy.
Cheyenne Bottoms is famous for great flocks of migrating waterfowl that include many rare and endangered species. The site is an important point for rest and nourishment for hundreds of thousands of birds in their annual migrations between Arctic summer breeding grounds and southern winter ranges along the Gulf Coast, Caribbean and in South America. Cheyenne Bottoms is considered by many to be the single most important wetland for migrating shorebirds in North America, if not the entire western hemisphere. It is designated as a Ramsar wetland of international importance.
Cheyenne Bottoms, central Kansas.