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Remote sensing and GIS for detecting changes in the aquatic vegetation of a rehabilitated lake

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Remote sensing and geographical information system (GIS) methods combined with ground estimations were used to assess the effects of rehabilitation on the aquatic vegetation of a shallow, eutrophic lake in Finland. Aerial photograph interpretation was used to study the distribution of aquatic vegetation before (1953, 1996) and after (2001) rehabilitation in 1997. A digital elevation model was derived to relate the change in the aquatic vegetation to water depth. In addition, changes in the biomass of the most abundant species of the lake, Common Club-rush ( Schoenoplectus lacustris ), were studied by means of a regression analysis relating the ground estimations to the reflectance values ( R 2 =0.889, p <0.001). The results indicated that the objective of the rehabilitation--to stop the overgrowth process--has at least temporarily been achieved. After rehabilitation the most noticeable change had taken place in the area covered by floating-leaved vegetation. Greater proportional changes in the aquatic vegetation areas had occurred in the deep rather than in the shallow areas. A decrease in biomass of Common Club-rush was estimated to be 30% due to rehabilitation. The use of remote sensing and GIS provided valuable information on temporal and spatial changes in the aquatic vegetation, and the methods could be applied more extensively for lake monitoring purposes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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