, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 91-99

Interannual Changes in the Habitat Area of the Black-Necked Swan, Cygnus melancoryphus, in the Carlos Anwandter Sanctuary, Southern Chile: A Remote Sensing Approach

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Abstract

Bird monitoring is frequent in wetlands; however, in the absence of information on other variables, trends in bird numbers are difficult to interpret. In this article we describe a methodology for bird’s habitat area assessment based on remote sensing. We calibrated the methodology to study the changes in the habitat area of Cygnus melancoryphus, the black-necked swan, at the Carlos Anwandter Sanctuary, a wetland located in Valdivia, Southern Chile. Swan habitat area was estimated by means of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) based on Landsat images and calibrated through spectral photography by means of a portable Tetracam ADC Camera. Results show that calibrated NDVI values from Landsat images can be used to estimate habitat area but not to separate individual species of vegetation. We also show that the joint analysis of habitat area and swan count can indeed be used to separate some of the scales of variability of bird counts: those with “local-influence” associated with changes in habitat area from those of larger scales not related with habitat area.