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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Geography
  • Zoology


  • Remote sensing, High-spatial resolution, Broadband, Small-scale, Species richness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-157
JournalApplied Vegetation Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch