Evaluating Nature Reserve Design Efficacy in the Canadian Boreal Forest Using Time Series AVHRR Data

Ryan P. Powers, Nicholas C. Coops, Trisalyn Nelson, Michael A. Wulder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Abstract. This research evaluates the efficacy of candidate reserves in boreal ecosystems with respect to a long-term record of remote-sensing-derived productivity based on the dynamic habitat index (DHI) generated using Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data (1987–2007) and compared differences related to reserve location (stratified by land cover, ecozone, and gross primary productivity (GPP)) and reserve size. Effectiveness of candidate reserves was assessed by how productivity values differed from the initial conditions (2000–2005 baseline). Results indicate that small reserves (<1,000 km2) at high elevations, high latitudes, intermittent environments (wetlands), or dominated by open shrub experienced the greatest amount of interannual variability. To the contrary, larger reserves (≥1,000 km2; <10,000 km2) were stable under these same conditions. Results also indicate that reserves located in highly productive areas (>700 kgC m−2 yr−1) experienced greater interannual variability than low-productivity areas. This approach provides an objective and consistent means of evaluating reserve efficacy across different geographic areas and through time. By highlighting uncertainty associated with change impacts, this approach also offers opportunities to develop more robust long-term conservation targets in new reserves and to test potential mitigation strategies prior to implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-189
Number of pages19
JournalCanadian Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 3 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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