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Spectral heterogeneity of QuickBird satellite data is related to fine-scale plant species spatial turnover in semi-natural grasslands

  • Karin Hall
  • Triin Reitalu
  • Martin Sykes
  • Honor C Prentice
Publishing year: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 145-157
Publication/Series: Applied Vegetation Science
Volume: 15
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Opulus Press

Abstract english


Question: Can satellite data be related to fine-scale species diversity and does the

integrated use of field and satellite data provide information that can be used in

the estimation of fine-scale species diversity in semi-natural grassland sites?

Location: The Baltic Island of Oland (Sweden).

Methods: Field work including the on-site description of 62 semi-natural

grassland sites (represented by three 0.5m0.5m plots per site) was performed

to record response variables (total species richness, mean species

richness and species spatial turnover) and field-measured explanatory variables

(field-layer height and distance between plots). Within each site, QuickBird

satellite data were extracted from a standardized sample area by associating

each field plot with a 33 pixel window (1 pixel = 2.4m2.4 m). Explanatory

variables (the normalized difference vegetation index and spectral heterogeneity)

were generated from the satellite data. Correlation tests, univariate

regressions, variance partitioning and multivariate linear regressions were used

to analyse the associations between response and explanatory variables.

Results: There was a significant association between the spectral heterogeneity

of the near-infrared band and the field-measured spatial turnover of species.

The most parsimonious explanatory model for each response variable included

both field-measured and satellite-generated explanatory variables. The models

explained 30–35% of the variation in species diversity (total richness 36%,

mean richness 31%, species turnover 33%).

Conclusions: High spatial resolution satellite data are capable of supplying

fine-scale habitat information that is relevant for the monitoring and conservation

management of fine-scale plant diversity in semi-natural grasslands.


  • Physical Geography
  • Zoology
  • Remote sensing
  • High-spatial resolution
  • Broadband
  • Small-scale
  • Species richness.


  • ISSN: 1402-2001
Honor C. Prentice
E-mail: honor_c [dot] prentice [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emerita


+46 46 222 89 71

+46 73 596 83 34


Sölvegatan 37, Lund