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Remote Sens. 2014, 6(11), 11391-11419; doi:10.3390/rs61111391

Identification of Ecosystem Functional Types from Coarse Resolution Imagery Using a Self-Organizing Map Approach: A Case Study for Spain

Departament de Física de la Terra i Termodinàmica, Universitat de València, Dr. Moliner, 50, 46100 Burjassot (València), Spain
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Received: 22 July 2014 / Revised: 21 October 2014 / Accepted: 24 October 2014 / Published: 14 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Earth Observation for Ecosystems Monitoring in Space and Time)
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Abstract

Ecosystem state can be characterized by a set of attributes that are related to the ecosystem functionality, which is a relevant issue in understanding the quality and quantity of ecosystem services and goods, adaptive capacity and resilience to perturbations. This study proposes a major identification of Ecosystem Functional Types (EFTs) in Spain to characterize the patterns of ecosystem functional diversity and status, from several functional attributes as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Land Surface Temperature (LST) and Albedo. For this purpose, several metrics, related to the spatial variability in seasonal and annual patterns (e.g., relative range), have been derived from remote sensing time series of 1 km MODIS over the period 2000–2009. Moreover, precipitation maps from data provided by the AEMet (Agencia Estatal de Meteorología) and the corresponding aridity and humidity indices were also included in the analysis. To create the EFTs, the potential of the joint use of Kohonen’s Self-Organizing Map (SOM) and the k-means clustering algorithm was tested. The EFTs were analyzed using different remote sensing (i.e., Gross Primary Production) and climatic variables. The relationship of the EFTs with existing land cover datasets and climatic data were analyzed through a correspondence analysis (CA). The trained SOM have shown feasible in providing a comprehensive view on the functional attributes patterns and a remarkable potential for the quantification of ecosystem function. The results highlight the potential of this technique to delineate ecosystem functional types as well as to monitor the spatial pattern of the ecosystem status as a reference for changes due to human or climate impacts. View Full-Text
Keywords: Self-Organizing Map (SOM); Ecosystem Functioning Types (EFTs); MODIS; Albedo; NDVI; LST; Precipitation Data Self-Organizing Map (SOM); Ecosystem Functioning Types (EFTs); MODIS; Albedo; NDVI; LST; Precipitation Data
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pérez-Hoyos, A.; Martínez, B.; García-Haro, F.J.; Moreno, Á.; Gilabert, M.A. Identification of Ecosystem Functional Types from Coarse Resolution Imagery Using a Self-Organizing Map Approach: A Case Study for Spain. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 11391-11419.

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