This Special Issue, “Remote Sensing and GIS for Habitat Quality Monitoring”, aims to pave the way for operational habitat quality monitoring from earth observation data for more effective habitat conservation. The demand for protecting biodiversity has been underlined by a number of recent international agreements, while the increasing size of protected habitats calls for an urgent improvement in the efficiency of monitoring.
Meanwhile, GIS-based quantitative habitat quality mapping has arrived. Processes leading to this include the increase in coverage provided by high-resolution airborne and spaceborne data, the availability of high-level classification algorithms in commercial processing software, and an active dialogue between remote sensing and conservation ecology specialists. Nevertheless, several open questions remain. How can ecological principles best be represented in geoinformation algorithms? How can habitat quality or conservation status be quantified? Can we integrate or compare data from different sensors? Is conservation legislation and practice ready for the stream of newly available data? How can field reference data collection and sensor campaigns be optimized for efficiency?
Previous reviews and special issues on ecological remote sensing typically focused on mapping either the extent of habitats or a single ecological variable. This Special Issue will present the next level of processing, where sensor and field data from several parameters, including the pattern and extent of habitats, structure, connectivity, species composition, and ecophysiological condition are processed and evaluated together, so as to deliver a quantitative representation of habitat quality.
Experimental reports, case studies, reviews, and future trend assessments are welcome (assuming they are relevant to habitat quality mapping and monitoring).
Selected topics of interest:
- Operational examples of GIS and/or Remote Sensing-supported habitat quality monitoring
- Case studies of GIS and RS in the monitoring of various habitat types
- New sensors, algorithms, and applications in habitat quality mapping
- GIS- and RS facilitated field ecological mapping
- Data sources, data infrastructures for habitat quality monitoring (web maps, crowdsourcing, citizen science, sensor networks)
- Requirements of practical conservation towards spatial data in habitat quality
Norbert Pfeifer, András Zlinszky, Hermann Heilmeier, Heiko Balzter, Bernhard Höfle, Bálint Czúcz