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Mapping of vegetation patterns over large extents using remote sensing methods requires field sample collections for two different purposes: (1) the establishment of plant association classification systems from samples of relative abundance estimates; and (2) training for supervised image classification and accuracy assessment of satellite data derived maps. One challenge for both procedures is the establishment of confidence in results and the analysis across multiple spatial scales. Continuous data sets that enable cross-scale studies are very time consuming and expensive to acquire and such extensive field sampling can be invasive. The use of high resolution aerial photography (hrAP) offers an alternative to extensive, invasive, field sampling and can provide large volume, spatially continuous, reference information that can meet the challenges of confidence building and multi-scale analysis.

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