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  • biodiversity  (15)
  • remote sensing  (10)
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  • 1
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: Soil and water retention ; bare patch size ; percent bare soil ; grass ; shrub ; remote sensing
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract The most important function of watersheds in the western U.S. is the capacity to retain soil and water, thereby providing stability in hydrologic head and minimizing stream sediment loads. Long-term soil and water retention varies directly with vegetation cover. Data on ground cover and plant species composition were collected from 129 sites in the Rio Grande drainage of south-central New Mexico. This area was previously assessed by classification of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometry (AVHRR) imagery. The classification of irreversibly degraded sites failed to identify most of the severely degraded sites based on size of bare patches and 35% of the sites classified as degraded were healthy based on mean bare patch size and vegetation cover. Previous research showed that an index of unvegetated soil (bare patch size and percent of ground without vegetative cover) was the most robust indicator of the soil and water retention function. Although the regression of mean bare patch size on percent bare ground was significant (p 〈 0.001), percent bare ground accounted for only 11% of the variability in bare patch size. Therefore bare patch size cannot be estimated from data on percent bare ground derived from remote sensing. At sites with less than 25% grass cover, and on sites with more than 15% shrub cover, there were significant relationships between percent bare soil and mean bare patch size (p 〈 0.05). Several other indicators of ecosystem health were related to mean bare patch size: perennial plant species richness (r = 0.6, p 〈 0.0001), percent cover of increaser species (r = 0.5, p 〈 0.0001) and percent cover of forage useable by livestock (r = 0.62, p 〈 0.0001). There was no relationship between bare patch size and cover of species that are toxic to livestock. In order to assess the ability of western rangeland watersheds to retain soil and water using remote sensing, it will be necessary to detect and estimate sizes of bare patches ranging between at least 0.5 m in diameter to several meters in diameter.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: aerial videography ; ecological indicators ; landscape ecology ; monitoring techniques ; remote sensing ; tropical savannas
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract If the goal for managing rangelands is to achieve a balance between production and conservation, then monitoring is essential to detect change and apply corrective action. In some range-land areas of northern Australia, monitoring has detected a tilt in the production-conservation balance towards excessive production. How big is this imbalance? Can it shift back? Robust monitoring is needed to answer these questions. The aim is to know what to monitor, and where. For example, to detect changes caused by livestock on rangeland forage production and soil erosion, indicators linking grazing disturbances to landscape function are needed, that is, indicators that signal how well landscapes are capturing, concentrating, and utilizing scarce water, nutrient, and organic resources. Studies in Australia and the USA document that simple vegetation and soil patch attributes can be measured as indicators of the 'state of health' of landscape function. For example, field and remote sensing-based grazing studies in Australia document that landscapes with a high cover of perennial plant patches function effectively to capture runoff water and nutrients in sediments, whereas landscapes with a low cover of these patches do not — they are dysfunctional — as indicated by large patches of bare soil. Aerial videography is proving to be a robust technique for measuring indicators of landscape function such as small patches of vegetation and the extent of bare soil. These indicators typically have a sigmoidal response to grazing impacts. We illustrate that if these indicators are measured on monitoring sites established near the sigmoidal 'point of inflection’ then small changes in these indicators can be detected.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: landscape characterization ; remote sensing ; change detection ; regional vulnerability ; accuracy assessment ; San Pedro River
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract Vegetation change in the American West has been a subject of concern throughout the twentieth century. Although many of the changes have been recorded qualitatively through the use of comparative photography and historical reports, little quantitative information has been available on the regional or watershed scale. It is currently possible to measure change over large areas and determine trends in ecological and hydrological condition using advanced space-based technologies. Specifically, this process is being tested in a community-based watershed in southeast Arizona and northeast Sonora, Mexico using a system of landscape pattern measurements derived from satellite remote sensing, spatial statistics, process modeling, and geographic information systems technology. These technologies provide the basis for developing landscape composition and pattern indicators as sensitive measures of large-scale environmental change and thus may provide an effective and economical method for evaluating watershed condition related to disturbance from human and natural stresses. The project utilizes the database from the North American Landscape Characterization (NALC) project which incorporates triplicate Landsat Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS) imagery from the early 1970s, mid 1980s, and the 1990s. Landscape composition and pattern metrics have been generated from digital land cover maps derived from the NALC images and compared across a nearly 20-year period. Results about changes in land cover for the study period indicate that extensive, highly connected grassland and desertscrub areas are the most vulnerable ecosystems to fragmentation and actual loss due to encroachment of xerophytic mesquite woodland. In the study period, grasslands and desertscrub not only decreased in extent but also became more fragmented. That is, the number of grassland and desertscrub patches increased and their average patch sizes decreased. In stark contrast, the mesquite woodland patches increased in size, number, and connectivity. These changes have important impact for the hydrology of the region, since the energy and water balance characteristics for these cover types are significantly different. The process demonstrates a simple procedure to document changes and determine ecosystem vulnerabilities through the use of change detection and indicator development, especially in regard to traditional degradation processes that have occurred throughout the western rangelands involving changes of vegetative cover and acceleration of water and wind erosion.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 4
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: biodiversity ; butterflies ; birds ; climate change ; montane vegetation ; remote sensing ; Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract We used a time series of satellite multispectral imagery for mapping and monitoring six classes of montane meadows arrayed along a moisture gradient (from hydric to mesic to xeric). We hypothesized that mesic meadows would support the highest species diversity of plants, birds, and butterflies because they are more moderate environments. We also hypothesized that mesic meadows would exhibit the greatest seasonal and interannual variability in spectral response across years. Field sampling in each of the meadow types was conducted for plants, birds, and butterflies in 1997 and 1998. Mesic meadows supported the highest plant species diversity, but there was no significant difference in bird or butterfly species diversity among meadow types. These data show that it may be easier to detect significant differences in more species rich taxa (e.g., plants) than taxa that are represented by fewer species (e.g., butterflies and birds). Mesic meadows also showed the greatest seasonal and interannual variability in spectral response. Given the rich biodiversity of mesic montane meadows and their sensitivity to variations in temperature and moisture, they may be important to monitor in the context of environmental change
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 5
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: biodiversity ; climate change ; latitudinal gradients ; mammal species richness
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract Current large-scale mammalian diversity patterns in Canada can be accurately explained using various measurements of heat energy. Unfortunately, climatic change is predicted to alter the fundamental climatic basis for contemporary diversity gradients, with the expected consequence that much of the Canadian biota will need to migrate in order to remain within climatically suitable regions. We make predictions regarding future mammal diversity patterns in Canada, and therefore provide a preliminary indication of where management intervention should be directed in order to conserve mammal diversity as climate changes. We also examine the current distributions of individual mammal species in Canada in order to determine which taxa cannot migrate farther north because of the Arctic Ocean barrier. Of the 25 species that fall into this category, we examine the predicted loss of habitat in one keystone species – Dicrostonyx groenlandicus, the collared lemming – and find that this taxon is likely to lose approximately 60% of its habitat with unpredictable but likely detrimental consequences for the arctic biota. We discuss the implications of our findings briefly.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 6
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: air pollution ; atmospheric change ; atmospheric stressors ; biodiversity ; ecosystem risk
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract Overall, the greatest threats to Canadian and global biodiversity are associated with conversions of natural ecosystems to anthropogenic ones, and over-exploitation of biological resources. This circumstance does not, however, trivialize the importance of atmospheric influences. Although scientific understanding of the risks is incomplete, it is nevertheless clear that anthropogenic changes in atmospheric stressors are potentially damaging to biodiversity and other ecological values over medium- and longer-term scales. It is important that greater investments be made in support of longer-term monitoring and research designed to understand the effects of atmospheric and other environmental stressors on the biodiversity and structure and function of Canadian ecosystems.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 7
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: benthic invertebrates ; biodiversity ; conservation ; genetic differentiation ; global change ; lotic systems ; population genetics
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract The response of natural systems to atmospheric change may depend critically on species diversity and on the genetic diversity (variability) found within their respective populations. Yet, most surveys of aquatic invertebrates account for neither. This may be of particular concern for benthic populations in running waters because of the considerable variability and the fragmentary nature of these habitats (e.g. isolated watersheds). In such habitats, species with limited genetic variability and/or limited dispersal capabilities (genetically differentiated populations) may be unable to track rapid environmental change, and may be more susceptible to climatic perturbations. We present a conceptual framework to illustrate some of the potential problems of ignoring population genetics when considering the impacts of global atmospheric change. We then review a simple method to assess population genetic structure and we evaluate available data on the genetic structure of North American stream invertebrates. These data indicate that benthic taxa often consist of genetically differentiated local populations, or even previously unknown species. Accordingly, our limited knowledge of population structure among benthic invertebrates may result in the unwitting loss of genetic and/or species diversity. Enhanced taxonomic research incorporating molecular techniques is clearly warranted. Conservation strategies based on the preservation and remediation of a diversity of aquatic habitats are likely to be our best means of ensuring species and genetic diversity of invertebrate taxa.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 8
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: biodiversity ; hazardous pollutants ; long range transport
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract Atmospheric change comprises many phenomena, namely climate change, acidic deposition, stratospheric ozone depletion, SMOG, increasing trend of suspended particulate matter, and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Among HAPs, a particular group of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), such as some organochlorine pesticides, has shown a variety of toxic effects, altering the biodiversity of many ecosystems. Because of their persistence in the environment, and of their long range transport, the study of the global cycle of POPs is important in understanding how they can affect biodiversity. This can be accomplished by coupling different approaches: toxicity and ecological studies, emission estimates, and the use of global models.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 9
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: arctic ecosystems ; arctic biota ; biodiversity ; biogeography ; climate change ; human impacts ; indigenous people
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract The Canadian Arctic is characterized by a high variation in landform types and there are complex interactions between land, water and the atmosphere which dramatically affect the distribution of biota. Biodiversity depends upon the intensity, predictability and scale of these interactions. Observations, as well as predictions of large-scale climate models which include ocean circulation, reveal an anomalous cooling of northeastern Canada in recent decades, in contrast to the overall significant increase in average annual temperature in the Northern Hemisphere. Predictions from models are necessary to forecast the change in the treeline in the 21st century which may lead to a major loss of tundra. The rate of change in vegetation in response to climate change is poorly understood. The treeline in central Canada, for example, is showing infilling with trees, and in some locations, northerly movement of the boundary. The presence of sea ice in Hudson Bay and other coastal areas is a major factor affecting interactions between the marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Loss of ice and therefore hunting of seals by polar bears will reduce bear and arctic fox populations within the region. In turn, this is likely to have significant effects on their herbivorous prey populations and forage plants. Further, the undersurface of sea ice is a major site for the growth of algae and marine invertebrates which in turn act as food for the marine food web. A rise in sea-level may flood coastal saltmarsh communities leading to changes in plant assemblages and a decline in foraging by geese and other consumers. The anomalous cooling in the eastern Arctic, primarily in late winter and early spring, has interrupted northern migration of breeding populations of geese and ducks and led to increased damage to vegetation in southern arctic saltmarshes as a result of foraging. It is likely that there has been a significant loss of invertebrates in those areas where the vegetation has been destroyed. Warming will have major effects on permafrost distribution and on ground-ice resulting in a major destabilization of slopes and slumping of soil, and disruption of tundra plant communities. Disruption of peat and moss surfaces lead to loss of insulation, an increase in active-layer depth and changes in drainage and plant assemblages. Increases of UV-B radiation will strongly affect vulnerable populations of both plants and animals. The indigenous peoples will face major changes in life style, edibility of food and health standards, if there is a significant warming trend. The great need is for information which is sensitive to the changes and will assist in developing an understanding of the complex interactions of the arctic biota, human populations and the physical environment.
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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  • 10
    ISSN: 1573-2959
    Keywords: benthic invertebrates ; biodiversity ; biometrics ; biomonitoring ; macrobenthos ; St. Johns River Florida ; submerged aquatic vegetation
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Notes: Abstract The macrobenthos in the oligohaline 132 km reach of the Lower St. Johns River, Florida, is an unusual blend of freshwater and marine organisms within the annelid, mollusk, aquatic insect, and crustacean groups. During 1993–1994, the community composition was freshwater-oriented in the 47 km (seg I) and estuarine-dominated in the lower 85 km (seg II). Of the total 146 taxa collected, 89% were euryecious 'eutrophic' and 'pollution-tolerant' organisms. Densities ranged between 5000 and 20 000 individuals/m2 ann av and maximum densities (85 000 individuals/m2) occurred in the muck substrate at the confluence of major tributaries and embayments. Throughout the lake-like seg II, benthic hypoxia existed during much of summer through fall. Biotic index values for grab, artificial substrate, and sled trawl samples reflected greatest stresses to the macrobenthos then. Both low taxonomic diversity and densities of organisms at the most downriver stations nearest the port of Jacksonville indicated that toxic substances also adversely affected the macrobenthos. Maintenance of the narrow band of littoral submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and adjacent shoreline riparian vegetation is important to sustain macrobenthic communities and other kinds of aquatic life in the river.
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