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Monitoring change in the spatial heterogeneity of vegetation cover in an African savanna

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The extent to which a new intensity‐dominant scale approach to characterizing spatial heterogeneity from remote sensing imagery can be used to monitor two‐dimensional changes (i.e. variability and patch size) in the spatial heterogeneity of vegetation cover (estimated from a Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM)‐derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)) was tested in the Sebungwe region in north‐western Zimbabwe between 1984 and 1992. Intensity of spatial heterogeneity (i.e. the maximum variance obtained when a spatially distributed landscape property is measured with a successively increasing window size) was used to measure variability in vegetation cover. Dominant scale of spatial heterogeneity (i.e. the window size at which the maximum variance in the landscape property is measured) was used to measure the dominant patch dimension of vegetation cover. This approach was validated by testing whether the observed change in the dominant scale and intensity of spatial heterogeneity of vegetation cover between 1984 and 1992 was related to changes in the proportion of arable fields. The results also indicated that there was a significant relationship ( p
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Zimbabwe, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe 2: International Institute for Geo‐Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), Hengelosestraat 99, 7500 AA Enschede, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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