Over the past week and a half, we have been prepping for the winter break. We have handed in rough drafts that will be crucial to the completion of our project, such as the GIS Report and the Lab Report, which describes our processes and motivation. We also had our last individual client meeting at the Noord-Brabant Province House in s’Hertogenbosch where we updated our clients on our data findings.
At this point, we have not yet finished our GIS work to show the completed map with areas vulnerable to excess plant growth and a full comparison to previous years. However, we do have a sample map to show. The map on the top left shows the sample area. This photograph is an image we have stitched together using over 100 aerial photographs taken with the drone. Below, this image shows a rough classification of the ground coverage. This was made by comparing the visible colour index of each pixel in the photograph then estimating the vegetation coverage. Each pixel was about 2cm on the ground, but the GIS software could not easily process this amount of information, and because this amount of detail was not needed, we made each pixel equal to 15cm of area on the ground.
Along with the photograph using the visible colour, we also compared an image using infrared imagery. This image shows better displays differentiation between vegetation and the various classes of ground coverage. However, the resolution is much less than the aerial photographs using the drone. This image can be found at the bottom of this blog post.
The image to the right shows the locations where we have taken our samples, before the beginning of last week. The points in green are locations where we have taken samples this year. The points in red are areas taken from 2016. We chose our locations based on ground coverage. This means that different samples were taken on a different types of vegetation coverage.
Following the sample collection, we processed the samples in the lab to find the pH, Total Nitrogen, Total Organic Nitrogen, and Ammonia. These variables were chosen because Nitrogen is the driving force that causes the plants to grow faster than normal. Overall, the samples showed that the areas in sand were lower in Nitrogen and areas with more vegetation coverage contained high amounts of Nitrogen. We believe this to be true because the sandy soils are more porous and allow water to move the Nitrogen and other nutrients away easier. The samples also showed that the soil has a pH ranging from 3.5-5.0. This acidic soil is common in this area, and the plants have adapted here to thrive in these soils.
We will continue to work in the lab and return to the field to gather more information about the park. With this new information that we have processed, we have already begun to develop a management and monitoring plan to our clients!