Sunday, January 24, 2016

The NDVI and Animal Ecology

The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is a tool that uses the reflection of near-infrared and red light and satellite technology to analyze the vegetation growth in an area. However, NDVI has also made an impact in studying animal species migration patterns, population, and spatial patterns, allowing for analysis of an area's biodiversity over time. In their study, Pettorelli et al., write that understanding and being able to predict people's effects on land use and habitat destruction "is fundamental to designing appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies" (Pettorelli et al.). Therefore, having a tool that allows for studying and anticipating these changes in biodiversity over time is essential to humans being able to combat climate change.

Table 1 (below) provides a list of studies that have been conducted using NDVI to research animal species' dynamics. As shown in the list, it is not only the habits of herbivores that can be analyzed using NDVI technology, but also insectivorous and carnivorous species as well, based on the idea that the primary production of an ecosystems vegetation affects the entire food web of that area.

The uses of NDVI have a great impact on models that predict how areas will change as the effects of climate change worsen. One 2009 study cited in the article, done by De la Maza et al., was able to show that although rainfall in parts of Chile was expected to decrease by 15 to 40%, primary production would only decrease 2 to 9% (Pettorelli et al.). So, NDVI presents a "cheap, systematic, repeatable, and verifiable monitoring method" for wildlife management and climate change mitigation (Pettorelli et al.).

Pettorelli, N., Ryan, S. J., Mueller, T., Bunnefeld, N., Jedrzejewsk, B., Lima, M., & Kausrud, K. (2011). The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI): unforeseen successes in animal ecology. Climate Research, (46), 15-27.

1 comment:

  1. Have there been any other advancements in tools analyzing/predicting climate change in the last 4 years as the threat has become greater/more widely-broadcasted?