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Title: Ground-Based Photomonitoring of Ecoregional Ecological Changes in Northwestern Yunnan, China

Author: Lassoie, James P.; Goldman, Kiran E.; Moseley, Robert K.;

Date: 2006

Source: In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 140-151

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Barring abrupt natural or anthropogenic disasters, ecological changes in terrestrial landscapes proceed at a pace not readily detected by humans. The use of historical repeat photography can provide valuable information about such changes, but, these studies are opportunistic in that they must rely on old photographs. Hence, their ecological interpretative power is compromised by the intention of the original photographer, the quality of the original photographs, an incomplete and potentially misrepresentative sampling design, and a limited analytical framework for interpreting ecological changes. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has been using historical repeat photography to document ecological changes in northwestern Yunnan Province as part of its conservation planning efforts in China. This experience supported the development of a forward-sampling, ground-based, photomonitoring methodology designed around a high quality digital camera and a comprehensive database management system, which was tested during the summer and fall of 2003 across two adjacent ecoregions in northwestern Yunnan: the Hengduan Mountains and the Nujiang-Lancang Gorge. Based on results from a collaborative ecoregional conservation assessment for the region, visual indicators obtainable from the resulting photographs were identified and used to assess the threat status (for example, logging, grazing, mining) for five key ecosystem conservation targets (cold evergreen oak, evergreen broadleaf forest, mixed forest, subalpine forests, alpine mosaic). A sampling design strategy then was developed based on the inherent geographical variation in the distribution of targets, ethnic minorities (a surrogate for land-use), and climatic zones (based on precipitation and temperature) across the region. This distribution information is being used to design photomonitoring transects for establishing the baseline for the long-term monitoring of ecological changes. The photographic temporal assessment that eventually will result will help assess conservation and development activities across geographically extensive and diverse ecoregions, and serve as a means for monitoring the outcomes of conservation programs at specific locations.

Keywords: monitoring, assessment, sustainability, Western Hemisphere, sustainable management, ecosystem resources, ground-based photomonitoring, Northwestern Yunnan, China

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Lassoie, James P.; Goldman, Kiran E.; Moseley, Robert K. 2006. Ground-Based Photomonitoring of Ecoregional Ecological Changes in Northwestern Yunnan, China. In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 140-151

 


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