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Folia Geobotanica

, 44:211 | Cite as

Predictive Mapping of Plant Species and Communities Using GIS and Landsat Data in a Southern Mongolian Mountain Range

  • Henrik von WehrdenEmail author
  • Heike Zimmermann
  • Jan Hanspach
  • Katrin Ronnenberg
  • Karsten Wesche
Article

Abstract

We assessed presence/absence prediction of plant species and communities in a southern Mongolian mountain range from geospatial data using a randomized sampling approach. One hundred randomized vegetation samples (3 × 3 m) were collected within the 2 × 2 km summit region of the Dund Saykhan range, which forms part of the core zone of the Gobi Gurvan Saykhan National Park in arid southern Mongolia. Using logistic regression, habitat preference models for all abundant species (n = 52) and communities (n = 5) were constructed; predictors were derived from Landsat 5 imagery and a digital elevation model. Nagelkerkes r 2 was used for an initial data mining, and all significant models were validated by splitting the data and using one half for accuracy assessment based on the AUC (Area Under the receiver operating characteristic Curve)-values. Significant models could be built for half of the species. Altitude proved to be the most important predictor followed by variables derived from Landsat data. The clear altitudinal distribution patterns most definitely reflect precipitation; overall biodiversity in this arid environment is widely controlled by moisture availability. The chosen approach may prove valuable for applied studies wherever spatial data on species distributions are required for conservation efforts.

Keywords

Area under the curve Central Asia Gobi desert Habitat preference Logistic regression model Species distribution Validation 

Abbreviations

AIC

Akaike information criterion

AUC

area under the receiver operating characteristic curve

GAM

generalized additive model

GIS

geographical information system

GPS

global positioning system

NDVI

normalized difference vegetation index

PCA

principal components analysis

SRTM

shuttle radar topography mission

TC

Tasseled Cap

TNDVI

transformed normalized difference vegetation index

VEGIN

vegetation index (channel 4  −  channel 3)

Plant nomenclature

Grubov (2001), Gubanov (1996) 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Tuvshin’s effort was of great help during the randomized sampling, Tsolmon & Ojuna from the Mongolian State University organized permits. The administration of the Gobi Gurvan Saykhan National Park kindly granted working permits. Determination of difficult taxa would have been impossible without the help of Prof. Sanchir from the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. The base camp of this study was financed by the DFG and the GTZ. Additional financial support was granted by the FWF (project P18624) and the German Academic Exchange Service. We are grateful to Danny McCluskey, Petr Šmilauer and two anonymous reviewers, whose comments greatly improved the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henrik von Wehrden
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Heike Zimmermann
    • 1
  • Jan Hanspach
    • 3
  • Katrin Ronnenberg
    • 1
  • Karsten Wesche
    • 1
  1. 1.Martin-Luther-University Halle-WittenbergInstitute of Biology/Geobotany and Botanical GardenHalle/SaaleGermany
  2. 2.Research Institute of Wildlife EcologyViennaAustria
  3. 3.UFZHelmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZHalleGermany

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