Professor, Dept. of Environmental Resources Engineering, SUNY ESF

Using LIDAR to assess the roles of climate and land-cover dynamics in biodiversity changes

Collaborators: Dr. Giorgos Mountrakis, Dr. Bill Porter, Dr. Colin Beier, Dr. Ben Zuckerberg, Dr. Lianjun Zhang, Dr. Bryan Blair

Bird Distribution with NY State (credit B. Zuckerberg)
Bird Distribution within NY State (credit B. Zuckerberg)

Funders: NASA Biodiversity Program

Motivation: Recent work has demonstrated a northern shift in bird habitats over the past 20 years in NY State. Our motivating question is to assess whether this northern shift is attributed to land use land cover changes and/or to climatic changes.

Methodology: Our research team is composed of engineers, ecologists and biologists. We will establish a biodiversity model linking land use land cover (LULC) alterations and climate changes to bird spatial distribution. Changes in LULC will be assessed directly or indirectly using remotely sensed information. In July 2009 we flew our own airborne mission using the Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor, a waveform LiDAR sensor expected to be on board the 2017 DESDynI mission (budget permitting).

Findings: We have received the LiDAR data in April, 2011, so stay tuned.

Relevant papers: A few under development, more to come in late 2011/early 2012.