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Open AccessArticle

Relevance of the Cell Neighborhood Size in Landscape Metrics Evaluation and Free or Open Source Software Implementations

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Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, Via Mesiano 77, 38123 Trento, Italy
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Fondazione Edmund Mach, Research and Innovation Centre, Centro di Ricerca e Innovazione, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 S. Michele all’Adige (TN), Italy
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The EFI Project Centre on Mountain Forests (MOUNTFOR), Edmund Mach Foundation, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 S. Michele all’Adige (TN), Italy
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Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agrarie, Alimentari, Ambientali e Forestali, University of Florence, Piazzale delle Cascine, 18, 50144 Firenze, Italy
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C3A, Center Agriculture Food Environment, University of Trento, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 S. Michele all’Adige (TN), Italy
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Department of Cellular, Computational and Integrative Biology (CIBIO), University of Trento, Via Sommarive, 9, 38123 Povo (TN), Italy
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Fondazione Edmund Mach, Research and Innovation Centre, Department of Biodiversity and Molecular Ecology, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 S. Michele all’Adige (TN), Italy
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Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Department of Applied Geoinformatics and Spatial Planning, Kamýcká 129, 16500 Praha-Suchdol, Czech Republic
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8(12), 586; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi8120586
Received: 24 October 2019 / Revised: 23 November 2019 / Accepted: 9 December 2019 / Published: 13 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Free and Open Source Tools for Geospatial Analysis and Mapping)
Landscape metrics constitute one of the main tools for the study of the changes of the landscape and of the ecological structure of a region. The most popular software for landscape metrics evaluation is FRAGSTATS, which is free to use but does not have free or open source software (FOSS). Therefore, FOSS implementations, such as QGIS’s LecoS plugin and GRASS’ r.li modules suite, were developed. While metrics are defined in the same way, the “cell neighborhood” parameter, specifying the configuration of the moving window used for the analysis, is managed differently: FRAGSTATS can use values of 4 or 8 (8 is default), LecoS uses 8 and r.li 4. Tests were performed to evaluate the landscape metrics variability depending on the “cell neighborhood” values: some metrics, such as “edge density” and “landscape shape index”, do not change, other, for example “patch number”, “patch density”, and “mean patch area”, vary up to 100% for real maps and 500% for maps built to highlight this variation. A review of the scientific literature was carried out to check how often the value of the “cell neighborhood” parameter is explicitly declared. A method based on the “aggregation index” is proposed to estimate the effect of the uncertainty on the “cell neighborhood” parameter on landscape metrics for different maps. View Full-Text
Keywords: landscape metric; landscape ecology; forest landscape; free and open source geospatial; map filtering landscape metric; landscape ecology; forest landscape; free and open source geospatial; map filtering
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Zatelli, P.; Gobbi, S.; Tattoni, C.; Cantiani, M.G.; La Porta, N.; Rocchini, D.; Zorzi, N.; Ciolli, M. Relevance of the Cell Neighborhood Size in Landscape Metrics Evaluation and Free or Open Source Software Implementations. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8, 586.

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