Satellite Image Mapping of Tree Mortality in the Sierra Nevada Region of California from 2013 to 2016

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Extreme drought from 2013 to 2015 has been linked to extensive tree dieback in the Sierra-Nevada region of California. Landsat satellite imagery was analysed for the region from Lake Tahoe to the southern Sequoia National Forest with the objective of understanding the patterns of tree mortality in the years of 2013 to 2015 and into the near-normal precipitation year of 2016. The main mapping results for Landsat moisture index differences from year-to-year showed that the highest coverage of tree dieback was located in the Sierra and Sequoia National Forests, at four to five times greater area each year than within any other National Park or National Forest unit.


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