Contact Us

Instructions

Frequently Asked Questions

ETD Help

Policies and Procedures

Copyright and Patents

Access Restrictions

Search ETDs:
Advanced Search
Browse by:
Browse ProQuest
Search ProQuest

Laney Graduate School

Rollins School of Public Health

Candler School of Theology

Emory College

Emory Libraries

New ETD website is now LIVE and located here: etd.library.emory.edu

Remote Sensing Vegetation Reclamation on Surface Mines in Appalachia: A Case Study on Hobet Mine in West Virginia

Gondalia, Rahul (2012)
Master's Thesis (75 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Liu, Yang
Committee Members: Tolbert, Paige
Research Fields: Remote Sensing; Environmental Sciences
Partnering Agencies: Does not apply (no collaborating organization)
Keywords: remote sensing; surface mining; reclamation; NDVI; Landsat; Appalachia; vegetation
Program: Rollins School of Public Health, Environmental Health (Global Environmental Health - MD & MPH )
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/br285

Abstract

Background: Surface mining in Appalachia has been a large contributor to land-use
change in the region. Under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977
(SMCRA), mine operators assume responsibility to reclaim affected lands post-mining.
Evaluating vegetation reclamation is especially important in this region because of its
rich biodiversity and the ecosystem services provided.
Aims:
The aims of this study were to: 1) monitor temporal changes of vegetation
productivity from 1984 to 2010 in specific areas of interest on Hobet Mine and 2)
evaluate whether vegetation productivity in mining-permitted lands have properly
recovered the vegetation to equal or greater productivity to natural vegetation cover.
Methods: Satellite imagery of Hobet Mine from 1984 to 2010 was collected from the
Thematic Mapper sensor on Landsat 5. ENVI was used to calculate the Normalized
Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for each usable dataset in a Reference Area of
Interest (AOI) and three mining-permitted AOIs. ANOVA and Tukey's Studentized
Range Test was used to determine if mean NDVI values between and within three
benchmark periods (in June of 1986, 1996, and 2007) and AOIs were significantly
different. Finally, Minimum Distance Supervised Classification of the benchmark NDVI
images was used to classify dense vegetation, sparse vegetation, and barren, mined lands
over the study region and four AOIs.
Results:
From 1984 to 2010, the maximum mean NDVI values in the Reference AOI
were mostly over 0.60. After mining, NDVI values in the three mining-permitted AOIs
increased from 0 and appeared to stabilized below 0.60. By 2007, there was a significant
difference between the mean NDVI in the Reference AOI and those in the mining-
permitted AOIs. Classification results showed that vegetation recovery occurred on
approximately 50% of the land in the mining-permitted AOIs.
Conclusion: While vegetation productivity on mined lands increased and approached
that of natural vegetation cover, the trajectory of increase tended to stabilize significantly
below. Moreover, classification results suggest that only around half of mined areas were
restored to equal or greater vegetation productivity. These results have significant
implications on the loss of ecosystem services due to surface mining in Appalachia.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents -- Introduction ..........................................................1 -- Background .............................................................1 -- Coal Mining in Appalachia ...........................................2 -- Regulation ..............................................................3 -- Reclamation in Practice .............................................4 -- Study Objectives .....................................................6 -- Methods ...............................................................7 -- Study Site .............................................................7 -- Remotely Sensed Data Acquisition .............................11 -- Data Quality ..........................................................13 -- Data Processing using ENVI ......................................14 -- Pre-processing .......................................................14 -- Normalized Difference Vegetation Index .....................15 -- Land Cover Classification .........................................19 -- Results and Discussion .........................................22 -- Aim 1 ...................................................................22 -- Reference AOI .......................................................22 -- Permit Area of Interest 1 .........................................26 -- Permit Area of Interest 2 .........................................29 -- Permit Area of Interest 3 .........................................33 -- Permit AOIs versus Reference AOI .............................37 -- Aim 2 ...................................................................41 -- Hobet Mine Land Cover Classification .........................41 -- AOI Land Cover Classification ...................................43 -- Summary ..............................................................48 -- Limitations ............................................................49 -- Conclusion ..........................................................51 -- References .........................................................53 -- Appendix ............................................................56

Files

application/pdf Dissertation/Thesis 75 pages (3.7 MB) [Access copy of Dissertation/Thesis]
Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.