Context and objectives
A thorough understanding of the patterns, causes and consequences of tropical ecosystem dynamics is important in light of the current concerns to secure ecosystem service provision in face of Global Change. This understanding has been difficult to achieve, however, due largely to a lack of standardized spatially and temporally explicit information on various ecosystem features. We explored the use of imaging spectroscopy for the remote monitoring of tropical ecosystem dynamics. We used state-of-the-art hyperspectral image analysis techniques to study biodiversity dynamics in the tropics in two separate case-studies. For a first case-study we have available a very unique dataset of high fidelity hyperspectral airborne imagery covering Panama’s tropical ecosystems. The data set allows to study biodiversity patterns along climate and land use gradients which in turn will help us to better understand the uncertainty in mapping vegetation properties across climate and land-use gradients in tropical countries. We exploited the hypothesis that spectral diversity is a proxy for plant species diversity. So-called SVH or Spectral Variance Hypothesis techniques were used for characterizing spectral variability in the image along precipitation and land use gradients. The second case-study investigates the potential of imaging spectroscopy to map (invasive) plant species in the montane rainforest area of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii.
With this project we anticipated to provide novel insights in our understanding of the regional patterns, causes, and consequences of tropical ecosystem dynamics. These improved insights are crucial to secure tropical biodiversity and thus ecosystem services. We exploited the potential of imaging spectroscopy, a relatively novel technology which we believe can become a solid solution for the current lack of well-documented and standardized spatially and temporally explicit information on ecosystem characteristics. In the Panama case study we anticipated to provide novel insight in the biodiversity patterns along climate and land use gradients. These insights are crucial to better understand the consequences of Global Change on tropical biodiversity. In the Hawaiian case study we anticipated to provide improved classification techniques to map invasive species.
|Project leader(s):||KULeuven - Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES)|