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Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest Ecology and Management (MS)

College, School or Department Name

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Michael J Falkowski


Evan S Kane


Due to warmer and drier conditions, wildland fire has been increasing in extent into peatland ecosystems during recent decades. As such, there is an increasing need for broadly applicable tools to detect surface peat moisture, in order to ascertain the susceptibility of peat burning, and the vulnerability of deep peat consumption in the event of a wildfire. In this thesis, a field portable spectroradiometer was used to measure surface reflectance of two Sphagnum moss dominated peatlands. Relationships were developed correlating spectral indices to surface moisture as well as water table position. Spectral convolutions were also applied to the high resolution spectra to represent spectral sensitivity of earth observing sensors. Band ratios previously used to monitor surface moisture with these sensors were assessed. Strong relationships to surface moisture and water table position are evident for both the narrowband indices as well as broadened indices. This study also found a dependence of certain spectral relationships on changes in vegetation cover by leveraging an experimental vegetation manipulation. Results indicate broadened indices employing the 1450-1650 nm region may be less stable under changing vegetation cover than those located in the 1200 nm region.