A Spatial Analysis of Pitch Canker in Point Reyes National Seashore

Defense Date: 
Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pitch canker is a fungal disease that affects Pinus spp. in coastal Mediterranean climates. In 2007, pitch canker was discovered in the Pinus muricata forest in Point Reyes National Seashore (PRNS). The goals of this thesis are to create a map of pitch canker extent within PRNS, to determine if remote sensing is a viable method for studying this disease and to investigate any environmental variables that influence the distribution of pitch canker. A supervised classification using ERDAS Imagine software and 2010 National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) data was completed and fieldwork and statistical analysis were used to determine the accuracy of the classification. The final classification was found to be 59.0 percent accurate overall, with an increase in accuracy for diseased pixels to 85.7 percent. Elevation was found to be significantly different in diseased and non-diseased sites. This study provides a baseline map of pitch canker at PRNS that can be used by forest managers to monitor the progression of pitch canker.