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Plant survey of current vegetation of Sonoran desert plant community distribution in mountain parks in central Arizona-Phoenix, August 1999.

Publication date: 2005


  • Arthur Stiles, School of Life Sciences


This study represents an effort to map the distribution of plant community types across the Central Arizona - Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research (CAP-LTER) site centered in metropolitan Phoenix using Landsat ETM data. Vegetation classification was carried out using field data collected from within the study area describing woody plant species. A system was devised which represented a compromise between providing floristic information and enabling maximum spectral discrimination between community types. Image classification used reference spectra derived from training sites in the field and was carried out on subsets defined by soil surface texture in order to control for the strong background soil signature inherent to arid regions. While groundtruthing revealed that vegetation on clayey soils was mapped to 91% accuracy, other sections produced maps with less accuracy. The results of this study demonstrate that image classification of desert vegetation using only Landsat ETM data is problematic and may not be practical without other supporting data, such as radar imaging.


Temporal Coverage:


Geographic Coverage:

Geographic Description: Central Arizona Phoenix
Bounding Coordinates:
Longitude:-112.631314 to -111.925247
Latitude:33.654583 to 33.287300


Information Manager, 
Global Institute of Sustainability,Arizona State University,POB 875402,TEMPE

Methods used in producing this dataset: Show

Data Files (1) :

Raster: PlantSurvey_MtParks_2005

Horizontal Coordinate System:WGS_1984_UTM_Zone_12N

Column Description Type Units
ObjectID Internal feature number.
Value Class Code
Integer number
Red Red
Double number
Green Green
Double number
Blue Blue
Double number
Opacity Opacity
Double number
Class_names Class_names
  • Unclassified: Unclassified
  • Ambrosia Dom.: Ambrosia Dominated
  • Encelia Dom.: Encelia Dominated
  • Larrea Dom.: Larrea Dominated
  • Mixed scrub: Mixed scrub
Count Pixels counts for each class
Double number

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