Project Title

Defining the distribution and structural characteristics of historic dry stone fences at Lower Howards Creek using LiDAR and field-based canvassing

Presenter Hometown

Louisville, KY

Major

Wildlife Management

Department

Biological Sciences

Degree

Undergraduate

Mentor

Kelly Watson

Mentor Department

Geosciences

Abstract

In eastern North America, the ecological benefits of dry stone fences for wildlife such as small mammals, basking reptiles, insects and song birds are largely unknown. Lower Howards Creek Nature and Heritage Preserve (LHC) in Clark County, Kentucky, has an abundance of dry stone fences across its landscape; however, little empirical data has been collected regarding the distribution and structural characteristics of fences across the site. The objective of our study was to map dry stone fences across LHC, and to define the position and structure of fences. We used Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data to locate potential fences within LHC’s boundary. Fence locations were then verified onsite, and additional fences not identified using remote sensing were also added to the data layer using Arc Collector. Finally, we defined the structural characteristics of fences by collecting onsite data regarding the length, height, and vertical sinuosity of fences, as well as stone density and orientation of fences. We found 13 fences using remotely sensed data and 16 additional fences through onsite visits. This suggests that LiDAR may be used for preliminary site surveying, but onsite canvassing is likely necessary to fully delineate fence locations at a site. Fence arrangement, attributes, and distribution are being defined currently for LHC. This study is invaluable as it develops a novel data layer of historic features that are likely important to wildlife, and provides a foundation for subsequent studies concerning the ecological benefits of dry stone fences.

Presentation format

Poster

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Defining the distribution and structural characteristics of historic dry stone fences at Lower Howards Creek using LiDAR and field-based canvassing

In eastern North America, the ecological benefits of dry stone fences for wildlife such as small mammals, basking reptiles, insects and song birds are largely unknown. Lower Howards Creek Nature and Heritage Preserve (LHC) in Clark County, Kentucky, has an abundance of dry stone fences across its landscape; however, little empirical data has been collected regarding the distribution and structural characteristics of fences across the site. The objective of our study was to map dry stone fences across LHC, and to define the position and structure of fences. We used Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data to locate potential fences within LHC’s boundary. Fence locations were then verified onsite, and additional fences not identified using remote sensing were also added to the data layer using Arc Collector. Finally, we defined the structural characteristics of fences by collecting onsite data regarding the length, height, and vertical sinuosity of fences, as well as stone density and orientation of fences. We found 13 fences using remotely sensed data and 16 additional fences through onsite visits. This suggests that LiDAR may be used for preliminary site surveying, but onsite canvassing is likely necessary to fully delineate fence locations at a site. Fence arrangement, attributes, and distribution are being defined currently for LHC. This study is invaluable as it develops a novel data layer of historic features that are likely important to wildlife, and provides a foundation for subsequent studies concerning the ecological benefits of dry stone fences.