Floodplain inundation and vegetation dynamics in the Alligator Rivers region (Kakadu) of northern Australia assessed using optical and radar remote sensing

Doug Ward, Aaron Petty, Samantha Setterfield, Michael Douglas, Keith Ferdinands, Stephen Hamilton, Stuart Phinn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    The Alligator Rivers region is located in the wet-dry tropics along the coastal zone of northern Australia and contains Kakadu National Park, which is recognized under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and is a World Heritage listed site. Multiple anthropogenic stressors increasingly affect the floodplains of this region, and baseline information on floodplain inundation dynamics is necessary to manage these threats and develop adaption strategies for sea level rise. This study uses classification tree modeling to combine microwave (ALOS L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar) and optical (Landsat Thematic Mapper, TM 5) satellite data with field-sampled aquatic vegetation and depth logger data to predict the seasonal and inter-annual dynamics of aquatic plant cover and extent of inundation in the region. The USGS Landsat TM 5 image archive was sampled between 1985 and 2011 using three seasonal samples per year to create a comprehensive long-term time series of seasonal and inter-annual floodplain inundation extents. Classification accuracy for the inundation mapping was estimated at 86% based on seasonal depth logger data. The mean extent of inundation at the end of the wet season (March/April) was 1784km2 (range 2283-1309km2), receding on average to approximately 25% of its extent by August/September. Seasonal inundation patterns exhibit an exponential recession of inundation into 'backswamp' areas on the fringes of the floodplains with hydro-periods on the order of 5months. The findings of this work significantly improve our understanding of dynamics in this environmentally and culturally unique area and provide a basis for application in other seasonally flooded environments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-55
    Number of pages13
    JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
    Volume147
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2014

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    alligators
    radar
    vegetation dynamics
    floodplains
    remote sensing
    floodplain
    Remote sensing
    Radar
    Rivers
    vegetation
    rivers
    Landsat
    aquatic plants
    river
    Landsat thematic mapper
    Tropics
    Sea level
    Ramsar Convention
    Wetlands
    Synthetic aperture radar

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    Ward, Doug ; Petty, Aaron ; Setterfield, Samantha ; Douglas, Michael ; Ferdinands, Keith ; Hamilton, Stephen ; Phinn, Stuart. / Floodplain inundation and vegetation dynamics in the Alligator Rivers region (Kakadu) of northern Australia assessed using optical and radar remote sensing. In: Remote Sensing of Environment. 2014 ; Vol. 147. pp. 43-55.
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    abstract = "The Alligator Rivers region is located in the wet-dry tropics along the coastal zone of northern Australia and contains Kakadu National Park, which is recognized under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and is a World Heritage listed site. Multiple anthropogenic stressors increasingly affect the floodplains of this region, and baseline information on floodplain inundation dynamics is necessary to manage these threats and develop adaption strategies for sea level rise. This study uses classification tree modeling to combine microwave (ALOS L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar) and optical (Landsat Thematic Mapper, TM 5) satellite data with field-sampled aquatic vegetation and depth logger data to predict the seasonal and inter-annual dynamics of aquatic plant cover and extent of inundation in the region. The USGS Landsat TM 5 image archive was sampled between 1985 and 2011 using three seasonal samples per year to create a comprehensive long-term time series of seasonal and inter-annual floodplain inundation extents. Classification accuracy for the inundation mapping was estimated at 86{\%} based on seasonal depth logger data. The mean extent of inundation at the end of the wet season (March/April) was 1784km2 (range 2283-1309km2), receding on average to approximately 25{\%} of its extent by August/September. Seasonal inundation patterns exhibit an exponential recession of inundation into 'backswamp' areas on the fringes of the floodplains with hydro-periods on the order of 5months. The findings of this work significantly improve our understanding of dynamics in this environmentally and culturally unique area and provide a basis for application in other seasonally flooded environments.",
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    author = "Doug Ward and Aaron Petty and Samantha Setterfield and Michael Douglas and Keith Ferdinands and Stephen Hamilton and Stuart Phinn",
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    Floodplain inundation and vegetation dynamics in the Alligator Rivers region (Kakadu) of northern Australia assessed using optical and radar remote sensing. / Ward, Doug; Petty, Aaron; Setterfield, Samantha; Douglas, Michael; Ferdinands, Keith; Hamilton, Stephen; Phinn, Stuart.

    In: Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 147, 05.05.2014, p. 43-55.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Floodplain inundation and vegetation dynamics in the Alligator Rivers region (Kakadu) of northern Australia assessed using optical and radar remote sensing

    AU - Ward, Doug

    AU - Petty, Aaron

    AU - Setterfield, Samantha

    AU - Douglas, Michael

    AU - Ferdinands, Keith

    AU - Hamilton, Stephen

    AU - Phinn, Stuart

    PY - 2014/5/5

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    N2 - The Alligator Rivers region is located in the wet-dry tropics along the coastal zone of northern Australia and contains Kakadu National Park, which is recognized under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and is a World Heritage listed site. Multiple anthropogenic stressors increasingly affect the floodplains of this region, and baseline information on floodplain inundation dynamics is necessary to manage these threats and develop adaption strategies for sea level rise. This study uses classification tree modeling to combine microwave (ALOS L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar) and optical (Landsat Thematic Mapper, TM 5) satellite data with field-sampled aquatic vegetation and depth logger data to predict the seasonal and inter-annual dynamics of aquatic plant cover and extent of inundation in the region. The USGS Landsat TM 5 image archive was sampled between 1985 and 2011 using three seasonal samples per year to create a comprehensive long-term time series of seasonal and inter-annual floodplain inundation extents. Classification accuracy for the inundation mapping was estimated at 86% based on seasonal depth logger data. The mean extent of inundation at the end of the wet season (March/April) was 1784km2 (range 2283-1309km2), receding on average to approximately 25% of its extent by August/September. Seasonal inundation patterns exhibit an exponential recession of inundation into 'backswamp' areas on the fringes of the floodplains with hydro-periods on the order of 5months. The findings of this work significantly improve our understanding of dynamics in this environmentally and culturally unique area and provide a basis for application in other seasonally flooded environments.

    AB - The Alligator Rivers region is located in the wet-dry tropics along the coastal zone of northern Australia and contains Kakadu National Park, which is recognized under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and is a World Heritage listed site. Multiple anthropogenic stressors increasingly affect the floodplains of this region, and baseline information on floodplain inundation dynamics is necessary to manage these threats and develop adaption strategies for sea level rise. This study uses classification tree modeling to combine microwave (ALOS L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar) and optical (Landsat Thematic Mapper, TM 5) satellite data with field-sampled aquatic vegetation and depth logger data to predict the seasonal and inter-annual dynamics of aquatic plant cover and extent of inundation in the region. The USGS Landsat TM 5 image archive was sampled between 1985 and 2011 using three seasonal samples per year to create a comprehensive long-term time series of seasonal and inter-annual floodplain inundation extents. Classification accuracy for the inundation mapping was estimated at 86% based on seasonal depth logger data. The mean extent of inundation at the end of the wet season (March/April) was 1784km2 (range 2283-1309km2), receding on average to approximately 25% of its extent by August/September. Seasonal inundation patterns exhibit an exponential recession of inundation into 'backswamp' areas on the fringes of the floodplains with hydro-periods on the order of 5months. The findings of this work significantly improve our understanding of dynamics in this environmentally and culturally unique area and provide a basis for application in other seasonally flooded environments.

    KW - Banks (bodies of water)

    KW - Coastal zones

    KW - Dynamics

    KW - Flood control

    KW - Microwaves

    KW - Radar

    KW - Remote sensing

    KW - Sea level

    KW - Trees (mathematics)

    KW - Vegetation

    KW - Anthropogenic stressors

    KW - Aquatic vegetation

    KW - Classification tree model

    KW - Flood-plains

    KW - L-band synthetic aperture radars

    KW - Landsat Thematic Mapper

    KW - Macrophytes

    KW - Optical

    KW - Floods

    KW - classification

    KW - data acquisition

    KW - estimation method

    KW - floodplain

    KW - lidar

    KW - remote sensing

    KW - sampling

    KW - seasonal variation

    KW - time series

    KW - vegetation cover

    KW - vegetation dynamics

    KW - Alligator Rivers

    KW - Australia

    KW - Kakadu National Park

    KW - Northern Territory

    U2 - 10.1016/j.rse.2014.02.009

    DO - 10.1016/j.rse.2014.02.009

    M3 - Article

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    EP - 55

    JO - Remote Sensing of Environment

    JF - Remote Sensing of Environment

    SN - 0034-4257

    ER -