Canadian Forest Service Publications

Development of a large area biodiversity monitoring system driven by remote sensing. 2007. Duro, D.C.; Coops, N.C.; Wulder, M.A.; Han, T. Progress in Physical Geography 31(3): 1-26.

Year: 2007

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 26959

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Mark record


Biodiversity is a multifaceted concept that often eludes simple operational definitions. As a result, a variety of definitions have been proposed each with varying levels of complexity and scope. While different definitions of biodiversity exist, the basic unit of measurement for the vast majority of studies is conducted at the species level. Traditional approaches to measuring species richness provide useful, yet spatially constrained information. Remote sensing offers the opportunity for large area characterizations of biodiversity in a systematic, repeatable, and spatially exhaustive manner.

Based on this review we examine the potential for a national biodiversity monitoring system for Canada driven by remote sensing, a country approaching 1 billion ha in area, with the aim of producing recommendations that are transferable for regional or continental applications. A combination of direct and indirect approaches is proposed, with four selected key indicators of diversity that can be derived from Earth observation data: productivity, disturbance, topography, and land cover. Monitoring these indicators through time at an ecosystem level has the potential to provide a national early warning system, indicating where areas of potential biodiversity change may be occurring. We believe the large area biodiversity monitoring system as outlined would provide an initial stratification of key areas where regional and local scale analysis can be focused and also provide context for species collections data.