Evaluation of NDVI to assess avian abundance and richness along the upper San Pedro River

Journal of Arid Environments
By: , and 



Remote-sensing models have become increasingly popular for identifying, characterizing, monitoring, and predicting avian habitat but have largely focused on single bird species. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) has been shown to positively correlate with avian abundance and richness and has been successfully applied to southwestern riparian systems which are uniquely composed of narrow bands of vegetation in an otherwise dry landscape. Desert riparian ecosystems are important breeding and stopover sites for many bird species but have been degraded due to altered hydrology and land management practices. Here we investigated the use of NDVI, coupled with vegetation, to model the avian community structure along the San Pedro River, Arizona. We also investigated how vegetation and physical features measured locally compared to those data that can be gathered through remote-sensing. We found that NDVI has statistically significant relationships with both avian abundance and species richness, although is better applied at the individual species level. However, the amount of variation explained by even our best models was quite low, suggesting that NDVI habitat models may not presently be an accurate tool for extensive modeling of avian communities. We suggest additional studies in other watersheds to increase our understanding of these bird/NDVI relationships.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evaluation of NDVI to assess avian abundance and richness along the upper San Pedro River
Series title Journal of Arid Environments
DOI 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2011.09.010
Volume 77
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Publisher location Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 9 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Arid Environments
First page 45
Last page 53
Country United States
State Arizona
Other Geospatial San Pedro River
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