Using selected biophysical parameters and remote sensing in tree species diversity and size monitoring in natural woodlands under non-rainfall limitation conditions

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Research Paper 01/08/2014
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Using selected biophysical parameters and remote sensing in tree species diversity and size monitoring in natural woodlands under non-rainfall limitation conditions

L. Chapungu, T. Yekeye
J. Bio. Env. Sci.5( 2), 329-340, August 2014.
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Abstract

This study assessed the feasibility of using selected biophysical parameters (Slope, altitude, aspect, soil pH, phosphorous, nitrogen and carbon) and remote sensing to monitor tree species diversity and size in an example of natural woodlands in a non-rainfall limitation region. The assessment was done across three different land use systems namely communal, old resettlement and newly resettled areas. Tree species diversity was quantified using the Shannon weaver index while tree species height and diameter at breast height were assessed using the modified Shannon Weaver index. The relationship between species diversity and selected biophysical factors was assessed using regression analysis. The relationship between remotely sensed data and species diversity was assessed by regression analysis of the standard deviation of Normalised Difference vegetation Index (NDVI) and Shannon weaver index. Results indicate that all individual biophysical parameters have a contributory influence on species diversity. However, the relationship was shown to be weak with a correlation coefficiency of between – 0.04 and 0.05 for all selected individual parameters. A significant correlation was only detected between tree species diversity and aspect. The standard deviation of NDVI was positively related to species diversity. The study concludes that, there is potential in the feasibility of using the selected biophysical parameters and remote sensing in tree species diversity monitoring in natural woodlands under non-rainfall limitation conditions. Future work is required to verify the detected trends in behaviour of tree species in relation to biophysical parameters and NDVI.

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