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Assessing Biodiversity from Space: an Example from the Western Ghats, India

Kamaljit Bawa, University of Massachusetts
Joseph Rose
K.N. Ganeshaiah
Narayani Barve
M.C. Kiran
R. Umashaanker

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Abstract

We demonstrate for the first time the potential use of satellite imagery to characterize areas of high and low species richness of trees in tropical forests. Our studies, conducted in the Biligiri Rangaswamy hills in the Western Ghats, India, show a high positive correlation between species richness and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is an index of green biomass. We discuss the application of NDVI values for biodiversity assessment and monitoring, as well as for conservation planning. The NDVI is a rough measure of green biomass.

Key words

Western Ghats, species diversity, tropical deforestation
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087