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Measuring and Modelling Biodiversity from Space

  • Author(s): Gillespie, Thomas
  • Foody, Giles M.
  • Rocchini, Duccio
  • Giorgi, Ana Paula
  • Saatchi, Sassan
  • et al.
Abstract

The Earth is undergoing an accelerated rate of native ecosystem conversion and degradation and there is increased interest in measuring and modelling biodiversity from space. Biogeographers have a long-standing interest in measuring patterns of species occurrence and distributional movements and an interest in modelling species distributions and patterns of diversity. Much progress has been made in identifying plant species from space using high-resolution satellites (QuickBird, IKONOS), while the measurement of species movements has become commonplace with the ARGOS satellite tracking system which has been used to track the movements of thousands of individual animals. There have been signifi cant advances in land-cover classifi cations by combining data from multi-passive and active sensors, and new classifi cation techniques. Species distribution modelling has been growing at a striking rate and the incorporation of spaceborne data on climate, topography, land cover, and vegetation structure has great potential to improve models. There have been signifi cant advances in modelling species richness, alpha diversity, and beta diversity using multisensors to quantify land-cover classifi cations and landscape metrics, measures of productivity, and measures of heterogeneity. Remote sensing of nature reserves can provide natural resources managers with near real-time data within and around reserves that can be used to support conservation efforts anywhere in the world. Future research should focus on incorporating recent spaceborne sensors, more extensive integration of available spaceborne imagery, and the collection and dissemination of high-quality fi eld data. This will improve our understanding of the distribution of life on earth.

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