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Fine-scale vertical position as an indicator of vegetation in alkaligrasslands – Case study based on remotely sensed data

Deák, Balázs and Valkó, Orsolya and Alexander, Cici and Mücke, Werner and Kania, A. and Tamás, János and Heilmeier, Hermann (2014) Fine-scale vertical position as an indicator of vegetation in alkaligrasslands – Case study based on remotely sensed data. Flora, 209 (12). pp. 693-697. ISSN 0367-2530 (In Press)

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Abstract

tVertical position is an important driver of vegetation zonation at multiple scales, via determining abioticenvironmental parameters, such as climate, soil properties and water balance. In inland alkali landscapes,elevation is a key factor for understanding patterns of salt accumulation and water table which is thereforeconsidered a good indicator of alkali vegetation types. Remote sensing techniques offer viable solutionsfor linking elevation data to vegetation patterns by providing an elevation model of extended areas.Our goal was to test the relationships between fine-scale differences in vertical position and vegetationpatterns in inland alkali landscapes by vegetation data collected in the field and elevation data generatedusing airborne laser scanning (ALS). We studied whether vertical position influences vegetation patternsat the level of main vegetation groups (based on alliances) or even at the level of associations. Our studysites were situated in a lowland alkali landscape in Hortobágy National Park (East-Hungary). We groupedthe associations into four main vegetation groups: loess grasslands, alkali steppes, open alkali swards andalkali meadows. Even though we detected a very limited range (121 cm) in the vertical position of the mainvegetation groups, they were well separated by their vertical positions. At the level of associations, a moredetailed elevation-based distinction was also possible in many cases. The revealed elevation–vegetationcorrelations show that high-resolution mapping based on ALS remote sensing techniques is an idealsolution in complex lowland areas, such as alkali landscapes. Our findings suggest that in other typesof lowland landscapes, characterised by elevation differences, the applied method might hold a greatpotential as a supporting tool for vegetation mapping.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH540 Ecology / ökológia
Q Science / természettudomány > QK Botany / növénytan > QK30 Plant ecology. Plant ethology / növényökológia
Depositing User: Orsolya Valkó
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2016 09:13
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2016 09:13
URI: http://real.mtak.hu/id/eprint/42656

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