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Journal Articles Ecological Indicators Year : 2024

Textural indices of aerial images reveal urban landscapes temporal dynamics and their effects on plants and birds

Des indices texturaux d'images aériennes pour révéler la dynamique temporelle des paysages urbains et leurs effets sur les plantes et les oiseaux

Abstract

Landscape temporal dynamics are a crucial concern in ecology to understand current biodiversity. But historical environmental data are often not easily available. This study assesses for the first time the potential of historical orthophotographs to describe past landscape conditions and determine the temporal lag between landscape changes and biotic communities responses. This method utilizes Gray level Co-occurrence Matrix (GLCM) texture indices computed from black and white orthophotographs to construct continuous metrics of landscape composition. Metrics were first developed using present-day data, i.e. 2015, and calibrated with categorical land cover maps of the Strasbourg Eurometropolis, France. Subsequently, these metrics were applied to historical orthophotographs from 1966, 1976, 1986, and 2000. Plant and bird data from research and citizen science programs were used to estimate the time delay in which these communities respond to evolutions in built areas and high vegetation. Obtained texture-based models reveal that built areas exhibit high contrast and homogeneity, depicted through a linear relation, and that high vegetation display low pixel brightness and high brightness diversity, better described via a nonlinear model. We successfully applied those findings to historical orthophotographs, and revealed dependencies on landscape composition up to 50 years ago for plants and up to 30 years ago for birds, with the time lag and the influence of built and high vegetation areas depending on the selected biodiversity indices. These results demonstrate the utility of archive black and white orthophotographs’ texture indices for describing urban landscapes over the past five decades, making them valuable tools for ecological research. These indices are more accessible than categorical data like land cover maps for past years. They have the potential to greatly benefit future studies investigating time lags in landscape ecology, simplifying access to historical landscape features and contributing to sustainable urban planning efforts.
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Dates and versions

hal-04608689 , version 1 (11-06-2024)

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Suzie Derminon, François Chiron, Audrey Muratet, Pierre-Alexis Herrault. Textural indices of aerial images reveal urban landscapes temporal dynamics and their effects on plants and birds. Ecological Indicators, 2024, 162, pp.112002. ⟨10.1016/j.ecolind.2024.112002⟩. ⟨hal-04608689⟩
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