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Open AccessArticle

Spectral Response Assessment of Moss-Dominated Biological Soil Crust Coverage Under Dry and Wet Conditions

1
Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University, Tottori 680-0001, Japan
4
International Platform for Dryland Research and Education, Tottori University, Tottori 680-0001, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(7), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12071158
Received: 18 March 2020 / Revised: 3 April 2020 / Accepted: 3 April 2020 / Published: 4 April 2020
Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are a major functional vegetation unit, covering extensive parts of drylands worldwide. Therefore, several multispectral indices have been proposed to map the spatial distribution and coverage of BSCs. BSCs are composed of poikilohydric organisms, the activity of which is sensitive to water availability. However, studies on dry and wet BSCs have seldom considered the mixed coverage gradient that is representative of actual field conditions. In this study, in situ spectral data and photographs of 136 pairs of dry and wet plots were collected to determine the influence of moisture conditions on BSC coverage detection. Then, BSC spectral reflectance and continuum removal (CR) reflectance responses to wetting were analyzed. Finally, the responses of four commonly used indices (i.e., normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI); crust index (CI); biological soil crust index (BSCI); and band depth of absorption feature after CR in the red band, (BD_red)), calculated from in situ hyperspectral data resampled to two multispectral data channels (Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2), were compared in dry and wet conditions. The results indicate that: (i) on average, the estimated BSC coverage using red-green-blue (RGB) images is 14.98% higher in wet than in dry conditions (P < 0.001); (ii) CR reflectance features of wet BSCs are more obvious than those of dry BSCs in both red and red-edge bands; and (iii) NDVI, CI, and BSCI for BSC coverage of 0%–60% under dry and wet conditions are close to those of dry and wet bare sand, respectively. NDVI and BD_red cannot separate dead wood and BSC with low coverage. This study demonstrates that low-coverage moss-dominated BSC is not easily detected by the four indices. In the future, remote-sensing data obtained during the rainy season with red and red-edge bands should be considered to detect BSCs. View Full-Text
Keywords: moss-dominated biological soil crusts (moss-dominated BSCs); dry-wet conditions; BSC coverage; in situ spectral reflectance; continuum removal (CR); normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI); crust index (CI); biological soil crust index (BSCI); Mu Us Sandy Land; drylands moss-dominated biological soil crusts (moss-dominated BSCs); dry-wet conditions; BSC coverage; in situ spectral reflectance; continuum removal (CR); normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI); crust index (CI); biological soil crust index (BSCI); Mu Us Sandy Land; drylands
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, X.; Wang, T.; Liu, S.; Peng, F.; Kang, W.; Guo, Z.; Feng, K.; Liu, J.; Tsunekawa, A. Spectral Response Assessment of Moss-Dominated Biological Soil Crust Coverage Under Dry and Wet Conditions. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 1158. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12071158

AMA Style

Chen X, Wang T, Liu S, Peng F, Kang W, Guo Z, Feng K, Liu J, Tsunekawa A. Spectral Response Assessment of Moss-Dominated Biological Soil Crust Coverage Under Dry and Wet Conditions. Remote Sensing. 2020; 12(7):1158. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12071158

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chen, Xiang; Wang, Tao; Liu, Shulin; Peng, Fei; Kang, Wenping; Guo, Zichen; Feng, Kun; Liu, Jia; Tsunekawa, Atsushi. 2020. "Spectral Response Assessment of Moss-Dominated Biological Soil Crust Coverage Under Dry and Wet Conditions" Remote Sens. 12, no. 7: 1158. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12071158

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