Rangeland habitats have declined for a variety of reasons, but two important contributing factors in Florida have likely been hydrological changes through drainage and reduction in fire. Using aerial imagery and ground truthing we will temporally and spatially monitor rangelands to:
Investigating the increase in canopy encroachment into Florida rangelands, and how we can return woody canopy habitats to a greater grassland component as they once were, using fire as a management tool.
Understanding overall environmental conditions, what drives good and bad forage years in Florida, and how these factors relate to cattle production.
We will also be deploying an Unmanned Aviation Vehicle (UAV) or drone coupled with the ability to capture aerial imagery to:
Monitor and measure gaps necessary for increased forage grasses produced by fire treatments in rangeland treatment plots.
Monitor size and repeat visitation of feral swine rooting and impacts on forage type and quantity.
At the Range Cattle REC we are implementing a long-term experiment to examine season of fire and feral swine impacts on multiple rangeland ecosystem services, including forage, soil health, and habitat for wildlife.
This project would not be possible without funding from NASA Collaborators: Hilary Swain, Archbold Biological Station. Gene Lollis, Elizabeth Boughton, MAERC. Jed Sparks, Cornell University. Contributors: The MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center.