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The relationship between the spectral diversity of satellite imagery, habitat heterogeneity, and plant species richness

Posted date: October 01, 2014
Publication Year: 
2014
Authors: Warren, Steven D.; Alt, Martin; Olson, Keith D.; Irl, Severin D. H.; Steinbauer, Manuel J.; Jentsch, Anke
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Ecological Informatics. 24: 160-168.

Abstract

Assessment of habitat heterogeneity and plant species richness at the landscape scale is often based on intensive and extensive fieldwork at great cost of time and money. We evaluated the use of satellite imagery as a quantitativemeasure of the relationship between the spectral diversity of satellite imagery, habitat heterogeneity, and plant species richness. A 16 km2 portion of a military training area in Germanywas systematically sampled by plant taxonomic experts on a grid of one hundred 1-ha plots. The diversity of disturbance types, resulting habitat heterogeneity, and plant species richness were determined for each plot. Using an IKONOS multispectral satellite image,we examined 168 metrics of spectral diversity as potential indicators of those independent variables. Across all potential relationships, a simple count of values per spectral band per plot, after compressing the data fromthe original 11-bit formatwith 2048 potential values per band into amaximum of 100 values per band, resulted in the most consistent predictor for various metrics of habitat heterogeneity and plant species richness. The count of values in the green band generally out-performed the other bands. The relationship between spectral diversity and plant species richness was stronger than for measures of habitat heterogeneity. Based on the results, we conclude that remotely sensed assessment of spectral diversity, when coupled with limited ground-truthing, can provide reasonable estimates of habitat heterogeneity and plant species richness across broad areas.

Citation

Warren, Steven D.; Alt, Martin; Olson, Keith D.; Irl, Severin D. H.; Steinbauer, Manuel J.; Jentsch, Anke. 2014. The relationship between the spectral diversity of satellite imagery, habitat heterogeneity, and plant species richness. Ecological Informatics. 24: 160-168.