Biodiversity mapping in a tropical West African forest with airborne hyperspectral data

Biodiversity mapping in a tropical West African forest with airborne hyperspectral data

Tropical forests, which are major repositories of biodiversity, are at risk of disappearing as land is converted to agriculture. An understanding of which remaining forests to prioritise for conservation is therefore important, but to date the only spatial information on forest biodiversity has, until recently, come from a sparse network of ground-based plots. In this paper, published in PLoS One, Vaglio Laurin and co-authors investigate whether airborne hyperspectral imagery can be used to predict the alpha diversity of upper canopy trees in a West African forest. The results indicate that airborne hyperspectral sensing can be very effective at mapping canopy tree diversity, because its high spatial resolution allows within-plot heterogeneity in reflectance to be characterized, making it an effective tool for monitoring forest biodiversity over large geographic scales.

This paper is an output of the CCI Collaborative Fund project Applications of airborne remote sensing to the conservation management of a West African National Park

Vaglio Laurin, G., et al., (2014). Biodiversity Mapping in a Tropical West African Forest with Airborne Hyperspectral Data. PLoS ONE, 9(6), e97910. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0097910

Collaboration / Project(s)

Applications of airborne remote sensing to the conservation management of a West African National Park

Reducing emissions from tropical forest deforestation and degradation (REDD+) is regarded by some leading economists as a cost-effective means of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. In terms of conservation, REDD+ is often regarded as a win-win-win opportunity: climate change will be mitigated, biodiverse forests protected and local communities rewarded. Yet, the…