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Article

Modelling of Vegetation Dynamics from Satellite Time Series to Determine Proglacial Primary Succession in the Course of Global Warming—A Case Study in the Upper Martell Valley (Eastern Italian Alps)

1
Department of Geography, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2
Department of Botany, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
3
Department of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
4
Department of Civil, Geo and Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Munich, 80333 Munich, Germany
5
Department of Physical Geography, Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, 85072 Eichstätt, Germany
6
Institute of Geography, University of Bremen, 28359 Bremen, Germany
7
Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway
8
Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation, TU Wien, 1040 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Izaya Numata
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(21), 4450; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13214450
Received: 15 September 2021 / Revised: 31 October 2021 / Accepted: 3 November 2021 / Published: 5 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vegetation Cover Changes from Satellite Data)
Satellite-based long-term observations of vegetation cover development in combination with recent in-situ observations provide a basis to better understand the spatio-temporal changes of vegetation patterns, their sensitivity to climate drivers and thus climatic impact on proglacial landscape development. In this study we combined field investigations in the glacier forelands of Fürkele-, Zufall- and Langenferner (Ortles-Cevedale group/Eastern Italian Alps) with four different Vegetation Indices (VI) from Landsat scenes in order to test the suitability for modelling an area-wide vegetation cover map by using a Bayesian beta regression model (RStan). Since the model with the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as predictor showed the best results, it was used to calculate a vegetation cover time series (1986–2019). The alteration of the proglacial areas since the end of the Little Ice Age (LIA) was analyzed from digital elevation models based on Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) data and areal images, orthophotos, historical maps and field mapping campaigns. Our results show that a massive glacier retreat with an area loss of 8.1 km2 (56.9%; LIA–2019) resulted in a constant enlargement of the glacier forelands, which has a statistically significant impact on the degree of vegetation cover. The area covered by vegetation increased from 0.25 km2 (5.6%) in 1986 to 0.90 km2 (11.2%) in 2019 with a significant acceleration of the mean annual changing rate. As patterns of both densification processes and plant colonization at higher elevations can be reflected by the model results, we consider in-situ observations combined with NDVI time series to be powerful tools for monitoring vegetation cover changes in alpine proglacial areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: vegetation cover 1; NDVI 2; glacier foreland 3; Bayesian beta regression model 4; European Alps 5 vegetation cover 1; NDVI 2; glacier foreland 3; Bayesian beta regression model 4; European Alps 5
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MDPI and ACS Style

Knoflach, B.; Ramskogler, K.; Talluto, M.; Hofmeister, F.; Haas, F.; Heckmann, T.; Pfeiffer, M.; Piermattei, L.; Ressl, C.; Wimmer, M.H.; Geitner, C.; Erschbamer, B.; Stötter, J. Modelling of Vegetation Dynamics from Satellite Time Series to Determine Proglacial Primary Succession in the Course of Global Warming—A Case Study in the Upper Martell Valley (Eastern Italian Alps). Remote Sens. 2021, 13, 4450. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13214450

AMA Style

Knoflach B, Ramskogler K, Talluto M, Hofmeister F, Haas F, Heckmann T, Pfeiffer M, Piermattei L, Ressl C, Wimmer MH, Geitner C, Erschbamer B, Stötter J. Modelling of Vegetation Dynamics from Satellite Time Series to Determine Proglacial Primary Succession in the Course of Global Warming—A Case Study in the Upper Martell Valley (Eastern Italian Alps). Remote Sensing. 2021; 13(21):4450. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13214450

Chicago/Turabian Style

Knoflach, Bettina, Katharina Ramskogler, Matthew Talluto, Florentin Hofmeister, Florian Haas, Tobias Heckmann, Madlene Pfeiffer, Livia Piermattei, Camillo Ressl, Michael H. Wimmer, Clemens Geitner, Brigitta Erschbamer, and Johann Stötter. 2021. "Modelling of Vegetation Dynamics from Satellite Time Series to Determine Proglacial Primary Succession in the Course of Global Warming—A Case Study in the Upper Martell Valley (Eastern Italian Alps)" Remote Sensing 13, no. 21: 4450. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13214450

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