Title: Correspondence of Satellite Measured Phenology to European Farmland Bird Distribution Patterns
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2009
JRC N°: JRC54972
ISBN: 978-92-79-14095-2
ISSN: 1018-5593
Other Identifiers: EUR 24085 EN
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC54972
DOI: 10.2788/46474
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: This report presents research in establishing linkages between remotely sensed information of vegetation cover and biological diversity, specifically focusing on farmland birds. The vegetation cover was investigated via phenological indices derived from time series of satellite images. The quantification of phenological processes is very important for understanding ecosystems and ecological development. Such factors determine population growth and influence species-species interactions (competition, predation, reproduction) and species distribution. Birds have long been used to provide early warning of environmental problems, because they are the best known and documented major taxonomic group, especially in terms of the sizes and trends of populations and distributions. Common farmland birds are in decline throughout Europe, with the cumulative populations of all 33 species of farmland birds suffering a decline of 44 per cent between 1980 and 2005. For the link between vegetation dynamics and farmland birds distribution phenological indices and their spatial statistical characteristics were calculated from the time series of the SPOT Vegetation images. The farmland birds species data were selected from the European Bird Census Counsel (EBCC) Atlas of European breeding birds. Both datasets were then statistically analyzed using the Environmental Stratification of Europe. The study shows that this stratification is very appropriate to describe the spatial distribution of farmland birds. Furthermore it was shown that phenological indicators, especially the start of the growing season, the first greening up measures and the productivity measures are good indicators of the distribution of the European farmland birds and that these indicators are comparable to climatic measures. The importance of using phenological indicators is argued by the illustrated fact that phenological indicators can deliver information on the habitat on a higher spatial resolution that cannot be obtained through climatic data. This combination of information supplies indispensible measures to monitor those environmental changes that most probably lead to the reported dramatic decrease of the species.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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