A Geostatistical Analysis of Soil, Vegetation, and Image Data Characterizing Land Surface Variation
The elucidation of spatial variation in the landscape can indicate potential wildlife habitats or breeding sites for vectors, such as ticks or mosquitoes, which cause a range of diseases. Information from remotely sensed data could aid the delineation of vegetation distribution on the ground in areas where local knowledge is limited. The data from digital images are often difficult to interpret because of pixel-to-pixel variation, that is, noise, and complex variation at more than one spatial scale. Landsat Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Satellite Pour l'Observation de La Terre (SPOT) image data were analyzed for an area close to Douna in Mali, West Africa. The variograms of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from both types of image data were nested. The parameters of the nested variogram function from the Landsat ETM+ data were used to design the sampling for a ground survey of soil and vegetation data. Variograms of the soil and vegetation data showed that their variation was anisotropic and their scales of variation were similar to those of NDVI from the SPOT data. The short- and long-range components of variation in the SPOT data were filtered out separately by factorial kriging. The map of the short-range component appears to represent the patterns of vegetation and associated shallow slopes and drainage channels of the tiger bush system. The map of the long-range component also appeared to relate to broader patterns in the tiger bush and to gentle undulations in the topography. The results suggest that the types of image data analyzed in this study could be used to identify areas with more moisture in semiarid regions that could support wildlife and also be potential vector breeding sites.
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