Data collection and development of a database, in order to map and quantify biodiversity and ecosystem services in Pindos National Park – a remote sensing approach

Feb 12, 2019

During summer 2018, the staff of Democritus University of Thrace (DUTH, LP) and the external experts of HELLENIC FORESTS G.P company visited Pindos National Park in order to conduct field measurements and collect primary data for the biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (ES) of the 11 NATURA 2000 sites (SPZ- GR 1310001, ZSP-GR 1310002, SPZ-GR 1310003, ZSP-GR1310004 ,SPZ- GR 2130001,SPZ–ZSP-GR 2130002 ,SPZ-GR 2130004, SPZ-GR 2130006, SPZ-GR 2130008, ZSP-GR 2130009, ZSP-GR 2130011).
The field data will be combined with secondary data, such as land use and land cover maps, remote sensing images, soil, meteorological and socioeconomic data, which were also collected from the DUTH team.
The resulting geodatabase will be analyzed in order to quantify and map biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of Pindos National Park, through remote sensing and geospatial methods.

In situ assessment of Forest Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Validation of Remote Sensing Maps
Ground validation and accuracy assessment is a prerequisite for the reliable mapping of biodiversity and Ecosystem Services through remote sensing and geographical information systems (GIS). More than 150 points were accurately located using Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers, recording information on the in-situ parameters.
The results of the fieldwork will be used both for model development through the satellite imagery and for assessing the accuracy of the   classification and modelling processes.

Leaf Area Index measurements
Leaf Area Index (LAI) an Essential Climate Variable, is an important biophysical variable for the forest ecosystem structure quantification. Mapping and monitoring of LAI’s dynamics is also essential for calculating CO2 flows and estimating forest Ecosystem Services. During field work over the NATURA 2000 sites of the National Park, LAI measurements were carried out with a portable photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) sensor,  while the subsequent PAR values were used to calculate LAI.

Spectral library sampling
Spectral signature is the variation of reflectance or emittance of a material with respect to wavelength. Hyperspectral remote sensing has the potential to provide quantitative information on spatial cover, species composition, and the physicochemical status of forest vegetation. Field spectroscopy is the primary method used to collect ground-truth data for the development of reference spectral libraries. Within the NATURA 2000 sites of the park, spectral signatures were acquired in the Visible-near infrared (VNIR) part of the spectrum to generate plant spectral libraries for vegetation mapping.

Training and dissemination
In addition to the sampling activities within the Natura 2000 sites of Northern Pindos National Park, DUTH experts also approached local stakeholders in order to raise awareness regarding the aim and objectives of the BIOPROSPECT project. The personnel of Pindos National Park Management Body also had the opportunity for some hands-on training on the scientific equipment, provided by the DUTH expert team.