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Journal Article

The Comparison of Remotely Sensed and Ground-Based Habitat Area Data Using Species-Area Models

E. L. Mack, L. G. Firbank, P. E. Bellamy, S. A. Hinsley and N. Veitch
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 34, No. 5 (Oct., 1997), pp. 1222-1228
DOI: 10.2307/2405233
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2405233
Page Count: 7
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The Comparison of Remotely Sensed and Ground-Based Habitat Area Data Using Species-Area Models
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Abstract

1. As long as high resolution landscape data are more expensive than low resolution data, there needs to be some form of cost-benefit analysis to inform the choice of data for a particular landscape ecological application. We suggest an approach whereby models describing a common ecological data set are compared using high and low resolution landscape data. First, the detection of habitat units was compared on the two maps and, secondly, an ecological model with a common set of species data was fitted to both sets of landscape data. The control was to fit the model using the higher resolution data but including only those habitat patches that could be detected on the low resolution map. 2. The approach is demonstrated using data from a study relating the number of species of resident birds to habitat area. Woodland areas were calculated using Ordnance Survey (OS) maps supplemented with field survey for comparison with areas estimated from the remotely-sensed ITE Land Cover Map, which was derived from Landsat TM data with a pixel size of 25 x 25 m. 3. The discrepancies between the two sets of area values were greatest at the smallest woodland size. Only 18% of woodlands smaller than 1 ha (as measured from the ground-based methods), but almost all woodlands greater than 2 ha, could be detected on the Land Cover Map. Estimates of woodland area tended to be smaller according to the remotely sensed map, especially at the smaller sizes. 4. Species-area relationships using ground-based data described the bird species number better than those from remotely sensed data, even when comparing only those woodlands found on both maps. At this scale, ground-based maps gave a better quality of information than the Land Cover Map, but at greater cost. However, the remotely sensed data are of sufficient resolution for coarse estimates of species-area relationships.

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