Title: Riparian zones: where green and blue networks meet. Pan-European zonation modelling based on remote sensing and GIS
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2011
JRC N°: JRC63959
ISBN: 978-92-79-19799-4
ISSN: 1018-5593 (print), 1831-9424 (online)
Other Identifiers: EUR 24774 EN
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC63959
DOI: 10.2788/80271
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: A new riparian zonation model based on satellite remote sensing data is proposed. The model makes use of spectral, land-use and topographic information to derive riparian zones at 25 m resolution for continental Europe based on a fuzzy approach. The zonation model is not designed as a high-precision mapping tool for local scale analysis, but to provide the first picture of riparian zone distribution patterns for Europe at continental scale. Based on model results, about 2% of continental Europe is detected as riparian. High density of riparian zones is found in mountainous areas, where the dense river network and extended natural habitas create conditions for riparian abundance. In plain areas the presence of agricultural areas is the main cause of riparian zone low density and high fragmentation. A first characterization based on CLC2000 data shows that a large part of European riparian zones (around 69%) is associated to forested habitat, while to a minor extent to other vegetation lifeforms. This result is important as provide location and a quantitative indication of forested habitats in Europe which have also an ecological significance as riparian zones. The three strategies used to achieve reliability measures of the model (input data accuracy, qualitative observation using VHR imagery, and independent ecological datasets) produced generally satisfactory results. A quantitative accuracy measure calculated using 3067 ecological survey points (RHS and QBR) produced an overall value of 84.6%, although being highly variable at regional level. Main sources of error are produced by river path misplacement and by the generalization process used to build the CLC2000 dataset. Lower accuracy of input layers in northern European countries have increased inaccuracy of riparian detection in these regions. The study allowed the identification of some main gaps and weaknesses present in European spatial datasets of continental extent, hindering the achievement of higher accuracy values in riparian zones modelling.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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