Analyzing Gradual Vegetation Changes in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region Using Landsat Data

Autor(en): Lucas, Moritz
Dasgupta, Antara
Waske, Bjoern 
Stichwörter: ALBERTA; Data mining; DEPOSITION; DISTURBANCE; Earth; Engineering; Engineering, Electrical & Electronic; Forest disturbance; forest monitoring; forest recovery; Fuel processing industries; Geography, Physical; Google earth engine (GEE); Hydrocarbons; Imaging Science & Photographic Technology; METALS; Monitoring; Physical Geography; RECOVERY; Remote Sensing; RIVER; TIME-SERIES; trend analysis; Vegetation mapping
Erscheinungsdatum: 2023
Herausgeber: IEEE-INST ELECTRICAL ELECTRONICS ENGINEERS INC
Journal: IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN APPLIED EARTH OBSERVATIONS AND REMOTE SENSING
Volumen: 16
Startseite: 1365
Seitenende: 1377
Zusammenfassung: 
Oil sand mining in northern Alberta/Canada in the Athabasca region is a major intrusion into the otherwise pristine natural environment. The various types of oil sands mining, transport, and processing are causing large-scale discharge of pollutants. Accordingly, this study examined the gradual changes in the physically undisturbed vegetation, that occurred from 1984 to 2021 in the Athabasca oil sands monitoring region. First, the abrupt changes were masked out with the help of auxiliary and Landsat data. Subsequently, a normalized burn ratio Landsat time-series was applied to the LandTrendr algorithm on the Google Earth Engine. In order to interpret gradual changes, measurement criteria were used to describe vegetation development, vulnerability, and variability. In addition, the spatial and temporal relationship of these to oil sand opencast mines, processing facilities, and steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) mines was examined. The results showed that a major part of the vegetation in the Athabasca oil sand monitoring region underwent a positive development (65.9%). However, around the opencast mines a negative vegetation development and stability within a radius of 10 km could be observed. In the surroundings of processing facilities, the development and stability of vegetation was disturbed within a radius of 2 km. Thereby the analysis of land cover classes showed that deciduous, coniferous, and mixed forest are disproportionately affected. Conversely, no negative influences on neighboring vegetation could be detected around SAGD mines. The temporal analysis showed that vegetation disturbance was most pronounced between 1990 and 2000, but recovered in recent years.
ISSN: 1939-1404
DOI: 10.1109/JSTARS.2023.3234090

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