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Contribution of VHR imagery to the characterisation of population, and more in particular of the carrying capacity for large wild herbivores in the forests of the Walloon region

Research project T4/DD/46 (Research action T4)

Persons :

Description :

Objectives :

The Division of Nature and Forests of the Wallooon Region is in charge of managing the red deer populations. To that end, shooting plans of each area where red deer occur must be defined with respect to a sustainable forest balance and according to multiple use forest management,
A relevant planning definition requires the information on the game density and the red deer carrying capacity,
The last information is assessed by the "ability index", built upon following parameters: soil, forest, food and shelter distribution, quietness, displacement abilities and topography.
The objective of this study is to demonstrate whether very high resolution images are relevant tools for providing missing information, e.g. forest structure and leaf area index, in building the "ability index

Results :

- data collection (field inventory, aerial photographs and satellite images);
- pre-processing of the images (geometric and radiometric correction);
- sensitivity analysis of the reflectance with respect to different site characteristics (topography and vegetated surface);
- iterative thematic processing (thresholding, textural analysis, classification,...) on a well documented area;
- validation of the processing on an a priori undocumented area;
- extension of the methodology;
- cost/benefit analysis and methodological recommendations.

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