A grid-based, satellite-image supported, multi-attributed vegetation mapping method (MÉTA)

Abstract

In this paper we present the main characteristics of a new, grid-based, landscape-ecology-oriented, satellite-image supported, field vegetation mapping method, called MÉTA (MÉTA stands for Magyarországi Élőhelyek Térképi Adatbázisa: GIS Database of the Hungarian Habitats). The goals of the MÉTA method based vegetation mapping program (MÉTA mapping) include the following: (1) to map the actual (semi-)natural vegetation of Hungary; (2) to evaluate Hungarian (semi-)natural vegetation heritage for conservation purposes; (3) to evaluate the present state of Hungarian landscapes from a vegetation point of view; (4) to collect vegetation and landscape ecological data for the prognosis of future changes of vegetation and the landscape. Spatial resolution, mapped attributes and mapping methods were developed to meet these goals.

The MÉTA method uses a hexagon grid with cells of 35 hectares. In the hexagons, habitat types are listed, then the area, naturalness-based habitat quality, spatial pattern in the hexagon, effect of the neighbourhood, connectedness, and threats are recorded for each habitat type. Other attributes are recorded in the hexagons: potential natural vegetation, area occupied by invasive plant species, area of old fields, land use of grasslands, and landscape health status (naturalness and regeneration potential of the landscape in general). One hundred hexagons form a quadrat — mainly for practical, organizational reasons, but also for collecting certain vegetation data at this spatial scale. For standardization of mapping, three different pre-printed data sheets and two different kinds of guides have been composed (Mapping Guide and Habitat Guide) and field trainings were organized. For standardization of estimation of naturalness-based habitat quality and regeneration potential field examples were prepared for each habitat type and each category of these attributes.

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Molnár, Z., Bartha, S., Seregélyes, T. et al. A grid-based, satellite-image supported, multi-attributed vegetation mapping method (MÉTA). Folia Geobot 42, 225–247 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02806465

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Keywords

  • GIS database
  • Habitat quality
  • Landscape ecology
  • Large area survey
  • Nature conservation
  • Regeneration potential
  • Standardization

Nomenclature

  • Simon (2000)