Bandelier National Monument Land Cover Mapping Project

From 2001 to 2009, EDAC, in conjunction with Natural Heritage New Mexico, mapped the land cover of the 34,000 acre Bandelier National Monument in north-central New Mexico.  The monument presented some unique challenges, from an elevation difference of 5,000 feet, to a terrain that includes riverine and lacustrine habitats, deep incised canyons and tall peaks capped by sub-alpine forests.   In addition, over the course of the project the region underwent a significant ecological change as the ubiquitous pinyon woodlands suffered a near total dieback.  The mapping process combined multi-temporal, moderate spatial resolution satellite imagery with digital ortho-photos along with the field plot data to detect and classify the different mixes of plant cover types.  The resulting map grouped the hundreds of separately identified vegetation communities found at the park into 70 separate land cover types.  The resulting map provides the US Park Service with a data source to aid in their management of park resources and a baseline from which to compare future changes.