New study reveals limitations of satellite remote sensing for collecting biodiversity data
There is a high need for practical tools for monitoring and assessing biodiversity. Remote sensing may be useful in some cases - but due to a new study it is of limited help when it comes to modelling local pollinator biodiversity.
Assessing species richness and diversity on the basis of standardised field sampling effort represents a cost- and time-consuming method. Satellite remote sensing (RS) can help overcome these limitations because it facilitates the collection of larger amounts of spatial data using cost-effective techniques. A new study focussed on image texture measures as a proxy for spatial habitat heterogeneity, which has been recognized as an important determinant of species distributions and diversity.
They found that the ability of texture features derived from Landsat-TM imagery to model local pollinator biodiversity is very limited. The researchers assume this is because the texture data captured mainly heterogeneity resulting from landscape configuration, which might be functionally less important for wild bees than compositional diversity of plant communities. In contrast to these findings, previous studies for avian biodiversity have demonstrated a high predictive power of texture metrics for birds.