Land Change and Ecosystem Science
The Land Change and Ecosystem Science (LanCES) initiative at Texas State University is a multidisciplinary research network designed to integrate existing capacities in scientific and geospatial data collection and processing, modeling, and data analysis to document and examine land cover and land use change (LCLUC) and associated ecosystem processes. Texas is a "natural laboratory" for investigating the causes and drivers of LCLUC due to its great geographic extent, biologic and demographic diversity.
Studies have suggested that surface temperature decreases as density of vegetation increases due to latent heat transfer. Yunuen Reygadas, Ph.D. Candidate, proposes to use time series of MODIS Leaf Area Index (LAI) and MODIS Land Surface Temperature (LST) as indicators of vegetation density and surface temperature, respectively. LAI is a proxy of the amount of vegetation vertically distributed. In theory, the higher the LAI, the denser and the less disturbed the vegetation. Thus, by evaluating the nature of the correlation between these two variables, this is working to determine if the combination of LAI and LST is effective to detect forest degradation.