Modeling above-ground litterfall in eastern Mediterranean conifer forests using fractional tree cover, and remotely sensed and ground data
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Question: How can we model above-ground litterfall in Mediterranean conifer forests using remotely sensed and ground data, and geographic information systems (GIS)? Location: Eastern Mediterranean conifer forest of Turkey. Methods: Above-ground litterfall from Mediterranean forest stands of Pinus nigra, Cedrus libani, Pinus brutia and Juniperus excelsa and mixed Abies cilicica, C. libani and P. nigra was modeled as a function of fractional tree cover using a regression tree algorithm, based on IKONOS and Landsat TM/ETM+data. Landsat TM/ETM+images for the study area were used to map actual stand patterns, based on a land-cover map of species stands using a supervised classification. Results: Total amount of annual above-ground litterfall for the entire study area (12 260km(2)) was estimated at 417.2Mg ha(-1) for P. brutia, 291.1Mg ha(-1) for the mixed stand, 115.5Mg ha(-1) for P. nigra, 54.6Mg ha(-1) for J. excelsa and 45.9Mg ha(-1) for C. libani. The maps generated indicate the distribution of the seasonal amount of total above-ground litterfall for different species and the distribution of species stands in the study area. There was an increase in the amount of above-ground litterfall for P. brutia stand in summer, for J. excelsa in autumn and for C. libani, P. nigra and the mixed stand of A. cilicica, P. nigra and C. libani in winter. Conclusion: Application of this model helps to improve the accuracy of estimated litterfall input to soil organic carbon pools in the Mediterranean conifer forests.