Special Issue "Applications of UAVs in Cold Region Ecological and Environmental Studies"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Shuhua Yi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1 Institute of fragile eco-environment, Nantong University, 999 Tongjing Road, 226007 Nantong, China
2 School of Geography Sciences, Nantong University, 999 Tongjing Road, 226007 Nantong, China
Interests: UAV application; ecosystem modeling; remote sensing; plateau pika; alpine grassland; boreal forest; arctic tundra; permafrost; carbon cycling
Dr. Go Iwahana
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
International Arctic Resaerch Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2160 Koyukuk Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
Interests: permafrost, frozen ground, ground ice, thermokarst, remote sensing
Dr. Yu Qin
E-Mail
Guest Editor
State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 320 Donggang West Road, Lanzhou 730000, China
Interests: UAV applications; plateau pika; alpine grassland; permafrost; carbon cycling; biodiversity
Dr. Yi Sun
E-Mail
Guest Editor
1 Institute of fragile eco-environment, Nantong University, 999 Tongjing Road, 226007 Nantong, China
2 School of Geography Sciences, Nantong University, 999 Tongjing Road, 226007 Nantong, China
Interests: UAV application; grazing management; rangeland; plateau pika; alpine grassland; biodiversity; nutrient cycle; animal behavior

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have developed rapidly due to the miniaturization of parts and the low cost of various sensors, and embedded computers and have become a popular, low-cost platform for ecological and environmental studies. This platform is especially valuable for harsh environments, for example, the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau and the Arctic. UAVs also have the flowing advantages: (1) high spatial and temporal resolution when compared with satellite remote sensing; (2) high efficiency, large ground coverage, and non-destruction when compared with ground sampling; and (3) as a bridge between satellites for remote sensing and ground sampling. With these advantages, UAVs have been applied to investigate the vegetation cover, biomass, patch, yak, plateau pika, gravel, and biodiversity, etc., of cold regions over the recent years.

For this special issue, we seek articles on the application of UAVs in, but not limited to, cold region ecology and environment, at various spatial scales, from quadratic to plot and regional scale. Articles on the applications of UAV in permafrost and periglacial environments are especially welcome.

Dr. Shuhua Yi
Dr. Go Iwahana
Dr. Yu Qin
Dr. Yi Sun
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • UAV cold region
  • ecology
  • environment
  • biodiversity
  • grazing
  • herbivores
  • rangeland

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Mapping Glacier Forelands Based on UAV BVLOS Operation in Antarctica
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(4), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12040630 - 14 Feb 2020
Abstract
The aim of this article is to show geomorphological mapping of remote Antarctic locations using images taken by a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during the Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. We mapped landform assemblages developed in forelands of Ecology Glacier [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to show geomorphological mapping of remote Antarctic locations using images taken by a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during the Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. We mapped landform assemblages developed in forelands of Ecology Glacier (EGF), Sphinx Glacier (SGF) and Baranowski Glacier (BGF) in Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 128 (ASPA 128) on King George Island (South Shetland Islands) and inferred about glacial dynamics. The orthophoto and digital elevation model allowed for geomorphological mapping of glacial forelands, including i) glacial depositional landforms, ii) fluvial and fluvioglacial landforms, iii) littoral and lacustrine landforms, iv) bodies of water, and v) other. The largest area is occupied by ground moraine and glacial lagoons on EGF and BGF. The most profound features of EGF are the large latero-frontal moraine ridges from Little Ice Age and the first half of the 20th century. Large areas of ground moraine, frequently fluted and marked with large recessional moraine ridges, dominate on SGF. A significant percentage of bedrock outcrops and end moraine complexes characterize BGF. The landform assemblages are typical for discontinuous fast ice flow of tidewater glaciers over a deformable bed. It is inferred that ice flow velocity decreased as a result of recession from the sea coast, resulting in a significant decrease in the length of ice cliffs and decrease in calving rate. Image acquisition during the fixed-wing UAV BVLOS operation proved to be a very robust technique in harsh polar conditions of King George Island. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Ecological Risk Assessment and Impact Factor Analysis of Alpine Wetland Ecosystem Based on LUCC and Boosted Regression Tree on the Zoige Plateau, China
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030368 - 22 Jan 2020
Abstract
The Zoige Plateau is typical of alpine wetland ecosystems worldwide, which play a key role in regulating global climate and ecological balance. Due to the influence of global climate change and intense human activities, the stability and sustainability of the ecosystems associated with [...] Read more.
The Zoige Plateau is typical of alpine wetland ecosystems worldwide, which play a key role in regulating global climate and ecological balance. Due to the influence of global climate change and intense human activities, the stability and sustainability of the ecosystems associated with the alpine marsh wetlands are facing enormous threats. It is important to establish a precise risk assessment method to evaluate the risks to alpine wetlands ecosystems, and then to understand the influencing factors of ecological risk. However, the multi-index evaluation method of ecological risk in the Zoige region is overly focused on marsh wetlands, and the smallest units of assessment are relatively large. Although recently developed landscape ecological risk assessment (ERA) methods can address the above limitations, the final directionality of the evaluation results is not clear. In this work, we used the landscape ERA method based on land use and land cover changes (LUCC) to evaluate the ecological risks to an alpine wetland ecosystem from a spatial pixel scale (5 km × 5 km). Furthermore, the boosted regression tree (BRT) model was adopted to quantitatively analyze the impact factors of ecological risk. The results show the following: (1) From 1990 to 2016, the land use and land cover (LULC) types in the study area changed markedly. In particular, the deep marshes and aeolian sediments, and whereas construction land areas changed dramatically, the alpine grassland changed relatively slowly. (2) The ecological risk in the study area increased and was dominated by regions with higher and moderate risk levels. Meanwhile, these areas showed notable spatio-temporal changes, significant spatial correlation, and a high degree of spatial aggregation. (3) The topographic distribution, climate changes and human activities influenced the stability of the study area. Elevation (23.4%) was the most important factor for ecological risk, followed by temperature (16.2%). Precipitation and GDP were also seen to be adverse factors affecting ecological risk, at levels of 13.0% and 12.1%, respectively. The aim of this study was to provide more precise and specific support for defining conservation objectives, and ecological management in alpine wetland ecosystems. Full article
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