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Predictive Mapping of Dwarf Shrub Vegetation in an Arid High Mountain Ecosystem Using Remote Sensing and Random Forests

Title data

Vanselow, Kim André ; Samimi, Cyrus:
Predictive Mapping of Dwarf Shrub Vegetation in an Arid High Mountain Ecosystem Using Remote Sensing and Random Forests.
In: Remote Sensing. Vol. 6 (2014) Issue 7 . - pp. 6709-6726.
ISSN 2072-4292
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/rs6076709

Official URL: Volltext

Project information

Project financing: VolkswagenStiftung

Abstract in another language

In many arid mountains, dwarf shrubs represent the most important fodder and firewood resources; therefore, they are intensely used. For the Eastern Pamirs (Tajikistan), they are assumed to be overused. However, empirical evidence on this issue is lacking. We aim to provide a method capable of mapping vegetation in this mountain desert. We used random forest models based on remote sensing data (RapidEye, ASTER GDEM) and 359 plots to predictively map total vegetative cover and the distribution of the most important firewood plants, K. ceratoides and A. leucotricha. These species were mapped as present in 33.8% of the study area (accuracy 90.6%). The total cover of the dwarf shrub communities ranged from 0.5% to 51% (per pixel). Areas with very low cover were limited to the vicinity of roads and settlements. The model could explain 80.2% of the total variance. The most important predictor across the models was MSAVI2 (a spectral vegetation index particularly invented for low-cover areas). We conclude that the combination of statistical models and remote sensing data worked well to map vegetation in an arid mountainous environment. With this approach, we were able to provide tangible data on dwarf shrub resources in the Eastern Pamirs and to relativize previous reports about their extensive depletion.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Asia; Pamir; Tajikistan; high asia; mountain ecosystems; remote sensing; modeling; random forest; vegetation; degradation; common pool resources
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professorship Climatology > Professorship Climatology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Cyrus Samimi
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Ecology and the Environmental Sciences
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professorship Climatology
Profile Fields
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 500 Natural sciences
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2014 15:28
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2014 15:28
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/4423