Now, natural resource managers can download satellite images to see how green their valleys are. University of Arizona researchers have created a Web site that allows users to compare greenness from one year to the next, between years, against a 14-year average and at two-week intervals. The information is invaluable for making long-term land management decisions.
Ranchers, forest rangers and other natural resource managers work directly on the land nearly every day to observe changes and decide how to handle them, whether grazing cattle, monitoring wildlife or assessing fire danger.
In combination with this site-specific approach, a University of Arizona satellite image database called RangeView offers these managers a bird's-eye view of broader terrain.
"RangeView provides frequent satellite images online to enhance the ability of natural resource managers, including ranchers, to manage the landscape," says Chuck Hutchinson, director of the Arizona Remote Sensing Center (ARSC), part of the Office of Arid Lands Studies (OALS) in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Along with Stuart Marsh, professor of arid lands, and arid-lands researcher Barron Orr, Hutchinson created the Web site to display NASA digital images in configurations that allow users to analyze the characteristics of the land.
Orr says, "This tool offers the ability to zoom in on your ranch, forest or habitat and monitor changes in vegetation through time."
George Ruyle, Larry Howery and Paul Krausman, faculty from the School of Natural Resources, and Mark Enns from the UA department of animal sciences, provided additional input.
The RangeView Web site provides applications for viewing, animating and analyzing satellite imagery to monitor vegetation dynamics through time and across landscapes. RangeView is simple to use and valuable for natur