Hyperspectral and Phenological Characterisation of Upland Heather Dominated Ecological Communities
Heather dominated uplands form a significant proportion of Scotland’s land area, are of international importance for biodiversity conservation, are a hydrological buffer and are intimately linked to the global carbon cycle. Current management practices are considered to be causing the decline of these areas and climate change may be contributing. The extent and remoteness of upland moors makes manual survey problematic for monitoring ecological and phenological change. Remote sensing offers a complimentary approach. However, little is known of the detailed reflectance properties of heather or the influence of variations in key biophysical and biochemical parameters have on the spectral reflectance of heather canopies and it is not known whether heather stands can be classified and their spatial extent and standing biomass quantified by remote sensing. The aims of this research are to improve scientific understanding of the detailed seasonal high spectral resolution reflectance properties of upland heather dominated vegetation assemblages with a view to develop remotely sensed inputs into complex moorland ecological models and to improve understanding of moorland vegetation phenology.
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