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Projectendatabank FEDRA





Mapping regulating Ecosystem Services using remote SENSing imagEry (ESSENSE)

Onderzoeksproject SR/00/151 (Onderzoeksactie SR)

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Context and Objectives

Around the world, leaders are increasingly recognizing ecosystems as natural capital assets that supply life-support services, i.e. ecosystem services, of tremendous value, e.g. water purification and carbon sequestration. In 1997, the work by defined the concept of
ecosystem services as the representation of goods and services derived from ecosystem functions. Since then, increased scientific effort has been put into further understanding, mapping, modelling and valuation of ecosystem functioning and services. In 2005, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment provided another boost by documenting the importance of ecosystem services to human well-being and showing that continued supply of these services is threatened by unsustainable anthropogenic activities.

Nevertheless, despite the global recognition by scientists and policy makers, the science of ecosystem service mapping is still a key front in which advances are required, particularly concerning regulating services.

Two key challenges of ecosystem services (ES) research lie in mapping the spatial heterogeneity of services, and addressing services at the right spatial scale. Bearing in mind the inherent spatially explicit properties of remote sensing (RS) data and the increasing number of available spatial scales and resolutions, it could prove to be a valuable input for examining several ecosystem services, especially the extent, location
and pattern of ES.

The main objectives of this project are to explore hyperspectral remote sensing data to:

(1) detect ecosystem service hotspots; and (2) develop spatially explicit indices for ecosystem functioning that can be used to reveal spatial patterns of several regulating services.
The regulating services selected in this proposal, and for which process-based maps will be developed, are: (1) Water purification, more specifically: De-nitrification, Nitrogen storage in ecosystems, and Phosphorus storage in ecosystems; (2) Primary production and climate regulation, more specifically: Carbon sequestration in ecosystems.

Expected results

- Development of an ecosystem functioning hotspot detection method using RS
- Development of a method for the mapping of ecosystem functioning gradients
- Scale analysis of different ecosystem functions

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