Using remote sensing indices to evaluate habitat intactness in the Bushbuckridge area : a key to effective planning

Motswaledi, Mokhine (2015-04)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Anthropological influences are threatening the state of many savanna ecosystems in most rural landscapes around the world. Effective monitoring and management of these landscapes requires up to date maps and data on the state of the environment. Degradation data over a range of scales is often not readily available due to a lack of financial resources, time and technical capabilities. The aim of this research was to use a medium resolution multispectral SPOT 5 image from 2010 and Landsat 8 images from 2014 to map habitat intactness in the Bushbuckridge and Kruger National Park (KNP) region. The images were pre-processed and segmented into meaningful image objects using an object based image analysis (OBIA) approach. Five image derivatives namely: brightness, compactness, NIR standard deviation, area and the normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) were evaluated for their capability to model habitat intactness. A habitat intactness index was generated by combining the five derivatives and rescaling them to a data range of 0 to 10, with 0 representing completely transformed areas, 10 being undisturbed natural vegetation. Field data were collected in October 2014 using a field assessment form consisting of 10 questions related to ecosystem state, in order to facilitate comparisons with the remote sensing habitat intactness index. Both satellite data sets yielded low overall accuracies below 30%. The results were improved by applying a correction factor to the reference data. The results significantly improved with SPOT 5 producing the highest overall accuracy of 62.6%. The Landsat 8 image for May 2014 achieved an improved accuracy of 60.2%. The SPOT 5 results showed to be a better predictor of habitat intactness as it assigned natural vegetation with better accuracy, while Landsat 8 correctly assigned mostly degraded areas. These findings suggest that the method was not easily transferable between the different satellite sensors in this savanna landscape, with a high occurrence of forest plantations and rural settlements too. These areas caused high omission errors in the reference data, resulting in the moderate overall accuracies obtained. It is recommended that these sites be clipped out of the analysis in order to obtain acceptable accuracies for non-transformed areas. The study nevertheless demonstrated that the habitat intactness index maps derived can be a useful data source for mapping general patterns of degradation especially on a regional scale. Therefore, the methods tested in this study can be integrated in habitat mapping projects for effective conservation planning.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Antropologiese invloede bedreig die toestand van savanna-ekostelsels in die meeste landelike landskappe regoor die wêreld. Doeltreffende monitering en bestuur van hierdie landskappe vereis op datum kaarte en inligting oor die toestand van die omgewing. Agteruitgangsdata van verskillende skale is dikwels nie geredelik beskikbaar nie weens 'n gebrek aan finansiële hulpbronne, tyd en tegniese vermoëns. Die doel van hierdie navorsing was om ‘n hoë resolusie multispektrale SPOT 5 beeld van 2010 en Landsat 8 beelde van 2014 te gebruik om die habitatongeskondenheid in die Bushbuckridge en Kruger Nasionale Park (KNP) streek te karteer. Die beelde is voorverwerk en gesegmenteer om sinvolle beeldvoorwerpe te skep deur die gebruik van ‘n voorwerp gebaseerde beeldanalise (OBIA) benadering. Vyf beeldafgeleides naamlik: helderheid, kompaktheid, NIR standaardafwyking, area en die genormaliseerde verskil plantegroei-indeks (NDVI) is geëvalueer vir hul vermoë om habitat ongeskondenheid te modelleer. ‘n Habitatongeskondenheidsindeks is gegenereer deur die kombinasie van die vyf afgeleides wat herskaal is na 'n datareeks van 0 tot 10, met 0 om totaal getransformeerde gebiede te verteenwoordig en 10 om ongestoorde natuurlike plantegroei voor te stel. Velddata is versamel in Oktober 2014 met gebruik van 'n veldassesseringsvorm, bestaande uit 10 vrae wat verband hou met die toestand van die ekostelsel, om vergelykings met die afstandswaarneming habitatongeskondenheidsindeks te fasiliteer. Beide satellietdatastelle het lae algehele akkuraatheid onder 30% opgelewer. Die resultate is deur die toepassing van 'n regstellingsfaktor tot die verwysing data verbeter. Die resultate het aansienlik verbeter met SPOT 5 wat die hoogste algehele akkuraatheid van 62.6% gelewer het. Die Landsat 8 beeld vir Mei 2014 bereik 'n verbeterde akkuraatheid van 60.2%. Die SPOT 5 resultate het geblyk om ‘n beter voorspeller van habitatongeskondenheid te wees as gevolg van ‘n beter akkuraatheid vir natuurlike plantegroei, terwyl Landsat meestal gedegradeerde gebiede kon voorspel. Hierdie bevindinge dui daarop dat die metode nie maklik oordraagbaar was tussen die verskillende satelliet sensors in hierdie savanna landskap nie, veral as gevolg van ‘n hoë voorkoms van bosbouplantasies en landelike nedersettings. Hierdie gebiede veroorsaak hoë weglatingsfoute in die verwysing data, wat lei tot gematigde algehele akkuraatheid. Dit word aanbeveel dat hierdie areas gemasker word tydens die ontleding om aanvaarbare akkuraatheid te verkry vir nie-getransformeerde gebiede. Nogtans het die studie getoon dat die afgeleide habitatongeskondenheidsindekskaarte ‘n nuttige bron van data kan wees vir die kartering van algemene patrone van agteruitgang, veral op 'n plaaslike skaal. Daarom kan die getoetsde metodes in die studie in habitatkarteringsprojekte vir doeltreffende bewaring beplanning geïntegreer word. Stellenbosch University https://scholar.sun.ac.za

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96798
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