Landscape structure and ecosystem conservation: an assessment using remote sensing
Mann, Samuel; Benwell, George L; Lee, William G
Analyses of landscape structure are used to test the hypothesis that remotely sensed images can be used as indicators of ecosystem conservation status. Vegetation types based on a classified SPOT satellite image were used in a comparison of paired, reserve (conservation area) and adjacent more human modified areas (controls). Ten reserves (average size 965 ha) were selected from upland tussock grasslands in Otago, New Zealand. While there were equal numbers of vegetation types and the size and shape distribution of patches within the overall landscapes were not significantly different, there was less of ‘target’ vegetation in controls. This was in smaller patches and fewer of these patches contained ‘core areas’. These control ‘target’ patches were also less complex in shape than those in the adjacent reserves. These measures showed that remotely sensed images can be used to derive large scale indicators of landscape conservation status. An index is proposed for assessing landscape change and conservation management issues are raised.
Publisher: University of Otago
Series number: 97/02
Research Type: Discussion Paper