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Keywords:

  • aerial video;
  • British Columbia;
  • data fusion;
  • GIS;
  • Gwaii Haanas;
  • Lyell Island;
  • oblique video;
  • slope stabilization

Abstract

In degraded ecosystems where the impact on wildlife and the destruction of natural systems is high, restoration becomes a critical component of recovery. Monitoring restoration activities plays a key role in determining end points for restoration and assessing effectiveness. Appropriate monitoring of major systems, particularly in assessing vegetation reestablishment and slope stabilization, requires a long-term commitment to annual assessment of change and improvement over time. However, intrinsic factors built into government or public management systems, such as budgeting and staffing limitations, limit the ability for long-term monitoring of critical restoration projects. In the research reported in this article, we devised and assessed a new remote method for assessing restoration success and tested it on restoration and monitoring requirements in Lyell Island, British Columbia. We developed a system (the oblique data fusion system [ODFS]) to extract spatial information from oblique aerial video imagery. The ODFS enables low-cost change detection and database updates at a range of operational scales. System tests show an absolute spatial accuracy on the order of ±2.1 m. The evaluation, based on digitized historical data, ground surveys, and the ODFS-derived data, indicates that the landslide rate (new area/year) tapered off following treatment; after 5 years it had been reduced by a factor of 3 relative to the background rate. The recovery is deemed sufficient to initiate secondary restoration tasks. The evaluation demonstrates the accuracy and utility of the ODFS for long-term monitoring of landscape restoration efforts, particularly in remote areas. In conclusion, this new innovative method shows considerable promise for park managers.