Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spy Satellite Photos Document Desert Plant Invasion

Date:
August 15, 2000
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
Declassified spy satellite images, combined with aerial photos, document an invasion of honey mesquite bushes into a former arid grassland that is now part of a long-term scientific study of the processes of desertification in southern New Mexico.

Declassified spy satellite images, combined with aerial photos, document an invasion of honey mesquite bushes into a former arid grassland that is now part of a long-term scientific study of the processes of desertification in southern New Mexico.

Related Articles


An interpretation of the 2-meter resolution overviews of desert terrain will be presented in a Thursday, Aug. 10 session of the Ecological Society of America's annual meeting in Snowbird, Utah.

By comparing 1937 and 1996 aerial photographs with military reconnaissance images made in the intervening years of 1966, 1976 and 1983, scientists with the Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research Program near Las Cruces, N.M., were able to document "an increase in both shrub numbers and area," according to the scientists.

"Honey mesquite now dominates large areas of former desert grassland throughout the Southwest," their presentation says. "Despite its importance, not much is known about the dynamics of individual shrubs over long periods and large areas."

But covert overhead surveillance can help. Initial results "show that remote sensing imagery is an appropriate tool for examining shrub invasion in desert grasslands," according to the poster, which was prepared by five researchers in the National Science Foundation-funded desertification study -- Sarah Goslee, Kris Havstad, William Schlesinger, Debra Peters and Al Rango.

Goslee, of New Mexico State University, electronically processed the images in a way that highlights the increase in mesquite numbers. Schlesinger, a Duke University biology professor and a principal investigator of the Jornada project, helped get the satellite images declassified.

"The number of mesquite at the Jornada has increased continuously, not just during the drought of the 1950s," Schlesinger said in an interview. "And most of the shrubs arriving early on have held their ground to the present day."

Schlesinger is among a special group of scientists, called the Medea Committee, who have received security clearance to review spy satellite images that might be of benefit to research if declassified. The idea of declassifying images for science was originally championed by Vice President Al Gore when he was in the U.S. Senate.

In a 1996 article in the journal Global Change Biology, Schlesinger and a MITRE Corp. researcher also described how they used intelligence satellite images and aerial photography to show that several decades of drought in the Sudan had no impact on tree abundance there.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Spy Satellite Photos Document Desert Plant Invasion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000811061840.htm>.
Duke University. (2000, August 15). Spy Satellite Photos Document Desert Plant Invasion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000811061840.htm
Duke University. "Spy Satellite Photos Document Desert Plant Invasion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000811061840.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins