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Open AccessArticle

Retrieving Foliar Traits of Quercus garryana var. garryana across a Modified Landscape Using Leaf Spectroscopy and LiDAR

1
Department of Forest Resources Management, University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
2
Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1630 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010026
Received: 21 November 2019 / Revised: 11 December 2019 / Accepted: 15 December 2019 / Published: 19 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hyperspectral Remote Sensing for Biodiversity Mapping)
Understanding the ecological effects of human activities on an ecosystem is integral to the implementation of conservation management plans. The plasticity of plant functional traits presents an opportunity to examine the capacity for intraspecific functional trait variations to be indicators of anthropogenic landscape modifications. The presence of intraspecific trait variation would indicate that plants of a single species could to be used to evaluate and map functional diversity, a common metric used to measure biodiversity. This study uses leaf spectroscopy, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and partial least squares regression (PLSR) to examine the intraspecific variation of functional traits in a population of 40 Quercus garryana experiencing varying levels of anthropogenic influence at the site level (<0.3 km2) in Duncan, B.C., Canada. These individuals vary in their spatial relationship to roads, agricultural land use change and an encroaching Coastal Douglas-fir forest. A total of 14 functional traits were estimated using pre-determined PLSR coefficients from a multi-species dataset. LiDAR data for each tree and were organized into functional categories based on their influence of plant lifeform, leaf growth or leaf structure. Principal components analysis was performed on each functional category to determine the relative influence of each trait. Results show that leaf growth and lifeform functional trait categories express significant variation in relation to three anthropogenic landscape modifications, while traits associated to leaf structure only varied between land use types (p = 0.05). Diameter at breast height (DBH), mass-based chlorophyll and leaf mass per area (LMA) showed the strongest variation across treatments. These findings support the hypothesis that trait variation exists in small populations of the same species and illustrate that spectroscopy can be used to indirectly sense land use via the leaf functional traits of a single tree species. View Full-Text
Keywords: spectroscopy; functional diversity; biodiversity; partial least-squares regression; functional traits; intraspecific; hyperspectral spectroscopy; functional diversity; biodiversity; partial least-squares regression; functional traits; intraspecific; hyperspectral
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hacker, P.W.; Coops, N.C.; Townsend, P.A.; Wang, Z. Retrieving Foliar Traits of Quercus garryana var. garryana across a Modified Landscape Using Leaf Spectroscopy and LiDAR. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 26.

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