The potential of geospatial technology for monitoring peatland environments

Clutterbuck, B. ORCID: 0000-0003-3239-8220, Chico, G. ORCID: 0000-0002-5915-3373, Labadz, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-1574-7540 and Midgley, N. ORCID: 0000-0003-0076-1785, 2018. The potential of geospatial technology for monitoring peatland environments. In: J.M. Fernández-García and K.J. Pérez, eds., Inventory, value and restoration of peatlands and mires: recent contributions. Bilbao: Provincial Council of Bizkaia, pp. 167-181.

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There have been significant advances in the spectral and spatial resolution of data collected from spaceborne, airborne and terrestrial based geospatial technologies over the past 20 years. In sensitive peatland ecosystems, the non-intrusive application of these technologies offers great potential to improve vegetation monitoring and topographical mapping. This paper discusses the potential of geospatial technologies for monitoring vegetation, mapping natural erosion features and assessing artificial drainage with reference to two peatland sites in England. Earth Observation (EO) data can now provide colour imagery with spatial resolution comparable to conventional aerial photography. Enhanced spectral resolution of spaceborne sensors has also increased the accuracy of automated image classification for bog vegetation and EO data may challenge the relevance of conventional aerial photography in landscape-scale assessment. Ultra-high resolution data achievable from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS) technologies are providing unprecedented levels of detail from remote sensing. UAV imagery now provides the possibility of identifying individual plants which greatly increases a researcher’s ability to map vegetation from aerial imagery. UAV derived elevation data, combined with the capability of TLS, provide enhanced resolution of gully and artificial drain morphology compared to airborne LiDAR and allow a new approach for quantifying erosion. These technologies provide opportunities to extend traditional surveys over far larger areas than was previously possible and can assist both in targeting areas for future restoration and in monitoring of subsequent change. Traditional survey methods will however maintain an important role in assessing many aspects of peatlands, as they not only provide information to verify remotely sensed data, but are currently the only method that can ‘see’ underneath peatland vegetation.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Creators: Clutterbuck, B., Chico, G., Labadz, J. and Midgley, N.
Publisher: Provincial Council of Bizkaia
Place of Publication: Bilbao
Date: 2018
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 12 Mar 2018 15:13
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2020 15:24

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