Integrating the Aerial Photos and DTM to Estimate the Area and Niche of Arundo formosana in Jiou-Jiou Peaks Natural Reserve of Taiwan
Earthquakes and typhoons have affected land use and land cover (LU/LC) in Taiwan, but an endemic grass, Arundo formosana, remains widely distributed. However, we lack knowledge about the niche of A. formosana. The purpose of this study was to estimate the area of A. formosana distribution by using scientific evidence and to describe its niche. In 2000, the Jiou-Jiou Peaks Natural Reserve was reported to be used to protect the unusual topography and complex biodiversity in the region. Several vegetation types can no longer grow in this region because of natural disturbances. However, A. formosana is able to grow. Because of the abundant roots and foliage of A. formosana, erosion is reduced. A. formosana can hang downward and thrive in crevices and cliffs, so its niche area might be underestimated if researchers ignored this characteristic. Today, most remote sensing images are two dimensional (2D), and sometimes 2D spatial information is insufficient to explain all natural phenomena. Therefore, we integrated ortho-aerial photographs and the digital terrain model (DTM) to estimate and analyze the niche area of A. formosana. The results indicated that the niche area of the species increased from 26.34 % to 32.86 % after the slope factor was considered. The results also exhibited that surfaces facing northeast, east, south, and southeast from 22.5° to 202.5° were more suitable for the growth of A. formosana. The slopes of the surfaces with A. formosana growth ranged from 0.00° to 81.82°, with an average of 53.99° ± 13.45°; slopes of 74° to 78° were the most suitable for A. formosana growth. The steeper peaks (steeper than 79°) were still covered with bare soil. This niche information could provide land managers with valuable information for water and soil conservation and eco-technology.
KeywordsArundo formosana DTM Ortho-aerial photographs Jiou-Jiou Peaks Natural Reserve Niche
We thank the Nantou Forest District Office and Taichung Working Station for providing the field survey data.
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