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Monday, April 9 • 10:30am - 10:45am
TERRESTRIAL-AQUATIC ECOSYSTEM INTERACTIONS: Monitoring the Restoration of High-Altitude Peat-forming Cushion Bogs (bofedales) in Northern Chile Using MODIS

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AUTHORS: Paul Marr*; Claire Jantz – Geography-Earth Science Department and Center for Land Use and Sustainability, Shippensburg University; Diego Aranibar, Soraya Zorzal, Carla Betanzo, Claudio López, Jorge Gonnet, Elizabeth Lictevout – Corporación de Estudios y Desarrollo Norte Grande

ABSTRACT: The central Andean dry puna (altiplano) ecoregion occupies the arid montane grasslands of northern Chile and Argentina, and western Bolivia, where peat-forming cushion bogs (bofedales) form in the flat areas bordering streams. Traditional agro-pastoral practices of the indigenous Aymara includes intensive management of wetlands to expand and preserve grazing land for llamas and alpacas. Scarce within an otherwise arid landscape, these wetlands are vulnerable to degradation due to drought, human-caused hydrologic changes (i.e. road construction), and abandonment of active management. In 2013 the Corporación de Estudios y Desarrollo Norte Grande, a Chilean non-profit organization, began wetland restoration efforts employing traditional Aymaran water management techniques through their Más Agua initiative. We are now testing the efficacy of using MODIS enhanced vegetation index (EVI) data to monitor these restoration efforts. Given the high annual and seasonal variability of bofedal productivity, the near daily acquisition schedule of MODIS, along with the rapid availability of 16-day EVI composites, make it potentially well-suited for monitoring purposes. Results so far are mixed but show promise. Time series analyses revealed that the impacts of restoration efforts on productivity are significantly influenced by the site and situation of the bofedal. Increases in plant productivity that are readily apparent in the field are difficult to discern in the EVI data, due in part to scale differences between sensor and the restored wetland areas. Although it is difficult to identify before and after productivity differences in an individual bofedal, we were able to find positive differences between restored and unrestored bofedales along the same water course. We conclude that MODIS offers a limited but potentially promising monitoring option for wetland restoration in this region.

Monday April 9, 2018 10:30am - 10:45am CDT
LaSalle 1 (7th Floor)

Attendees (6)