Bater, CW; Coops, NC; Wulder, MA; Nielsen, SE; McDermid, G; Stenhouse, GB (2011). DESIGN AND INSTALLATION OF A CAMERA NETWORK ACROSS AN ELEVATION GRADIENT FOR HABITAT ASSESSMENT. INSTRUMENTATION SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 39(3), 231-247.
Developments in distributed sensing, web camera image databases, and automated data visualization and analysis, among other emerging opportunities, have resulted in a suite of new techniques for monitoring habitat at many different scales. Data from these networks can provide important information on the timing of plant phenology with implications for habitat status and condition. In this article, we describe the design and deployment of a small network of cameras established along an elevation gradient in western Alberta, Canada, with the purpose of developing a more comprehensive understanding of seasonal phenophases and the reproductive timing of understory forest vegetation. During an eight-month period in 2009, over 6,700 images were acquired across seven sites throughout the growing season, providing a rich dataset documenting phenological activity of both the under- and overstory forest components. Strong elevation and climate responses were observed. A mathematical function was fitted to the data to demonstrate the capacity to capture phenological trends. This article demonstrates the utility of these types of relatively inexpensive, portable systems for monitoring seasonal vegetation development and change at high temporal resolutions across landscapes.