Remote sensing for mapping natural habitats and their conservation status – New opportunities and challenges

Christina Corbane, Stefan Lang, Kyle Pipkins, Samuel Alleaume, Michel Deshayes, Virginia Elena Garcia Millan, Thomas Strasser, Jeroen Vanden Borre, Toon Spanhove, Michael Förster

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    Abstract

    Safeguarding the diversity of natural and semi-natural habitats in Europe is one of the aims set out by theHabitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild faunaand flora) and one of the targets of the European 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, and is to be accomplishedby maintaining a favourable conservation status. To reach this aim a high-level understanding of thedistribution and conditions of these habitats is needed. Remote sensing can considerably contributeto habitat mapping and their observation over time. Several European projects and a large number ofscientific studies have addressed the issue of mapping and monitoring natural habitats via remote sensingand the deriving of indicators on their conservation status. The multitude of utilized remote sensingsensors and applied methods used in these studies, however, impede a common understanding of whatis achievable with current state-of-the-art technologies. The aim of this paper is to provide a synthesison what is currently feasible in terms of detection and monitoring of natural and semi-natural habitatswith remote sensing. To focus this endeavour, we concentrate on those studies aimed at direct mappingof individual habitat types or discriminating between different types of habitats occurring in relativelylarge, spatially contiguous units. By this we uncover the potential of remote sensing to better understandthe distribution of habitats and the assessment of their conservation status in Europe.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF APPLIED EARTH OBSERVATION AND GEOINFORMATION
    ISSN0303-2434
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May-2015

    EWI Biomedical sciences

    • B003-ecology

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