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Publications in Geological & Geomatics Engineering by NOMIS researchers

NOMIS Researcher(s)

June 15, 2022

Observing functional diversity continuously in time and space using satellite imagery forms the basis for studying impact, interactions, and feedback of environmental change mechanisms on ecosystems and biodiversity globally. Functional diversity of plant traits links ecosystem functioning and biodiversity. This work presents an approach to map and quantify functional diversity of physiological forest traits derived from 20 m Sentinel-2 data in a temperate forest ecosystem. We used two complementary data sources, namely high-resolution, as well as spatially resampled airborne imaging spectroscopy data and Sentinel-2 data, to ensure our methods support consistently mapping functional diversity from space. We retrieved three physiological traits related to forest health, stress, and potential productivity, namely chlorophyll, carotenoid, and water content, from airborne imaging spectroscopy and Sentinel-2 data using corresponding spectral indices as proxies. We analyzed changes in two functional diversity metrics, namely functional richness and divergence, at different spatial resolutions. Both functional diversity metrics depend on the size and number of pixels to derive functional diversity as a function of distance, leading to different interpretations. When mapping functional diversity using Sentinel-2 data, small-scale patterns <1.1 ha were no longer visible, implying a minimum calculation area with 60 m radius recommended for retrieval of functional diversity metrics. The spectrally convolved and spatially resampled airborne spectroscopy data and the native Sentinel-2 data were correlated with r = 0.747 for functional richness and r = 0.709 for divergence in a 3.1 ha neighborhood. Functional richness was more affected by the differences in trait maps between the acquisitions resulting from effects in illumination and topography compared with functional divergence. Further differences could be explained by varying illumination/observation effects and phenological status of the vegetation at acquisition. Our approach demonstrates the importance of spatial and spectral resolution when scaling diversity assessments from regional to continental scales.

Research field(s)
Applied Sciences, Engineering, Geological & Geomatics Engineering