Increased understanding of structural complexity in nature: relationship between shrub height and changes in spatial patterns

Volume 7, Issue 3, June 2023     |     PP. 78-95      |     PDF (4554 K)    |     Pub. Date: December 26, 2023
DOI: 10.54647/geosciences170298    34 Downloads     69171 Views  

Author(s)

Khodabakhsh Zabihi, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, University of Wyoming, 1000 E University Ave, Laramie, WY 82071, USA; Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS), Kamýcká 129, 165 00 Praha 6-Suchdol, Czech Republic
Ginger B. Paige, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, University of Wyoming, 1000 E University Ave, Laramie, WY 82071, USA
Amarina Wuenschel, U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Regional Ecology Program. Southern Sierra Province. North Fork, CA 93643, USA
Azadeh Abdollahnejad, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS), Kamýcká 129, 165 00 Praha 6-Suchdol, Czech Republic
Dimitrios Panagiotidis, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences (CULS), Kamýcká 129, 165 00 Praha 6-Suchdol, Czech Republic

Abstract
Characterizing and visualizing the vertical trends of three-dimensional (3D) structures help the science community and the public better conceptualize and perceive the structural complexity embedded in nature. We used terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) coupled with transect vegetation surveys to characterize vegetative structural complexity at vertical profiles in the shrubland ecosystems of western Wyoming, USA. We developed a homogeneity index for canopy cover spatial distributions using a reverse measure of lacunarity computed on 3D laser returns from the canopy covers. Height-dependent spatial homogeneity functions were defined by plotting the homogeneity index calculated at every 5 cm height of vegetation. We observed two distinct spatial homogeneity functions, indicating the structural diversity of shrubland vegetation. We also found a transitional zone of changes in the spatial patterns from being more homogenous to being more heterogeneous within a range between average shrub height (µ) and one standard deviation (σ) from the average [µ, (µ + σ)]. The revealed significant changes in the spatial patterns of vegetation structures in shrublands ([µ, (µ + σ)]) are likely to repeat within other structural features on earth if the heights of target structures follow normal distributions. The introduced approach to reveal significant changes in the lacunarity (or reversely homogeneity) measures along the height can be improved and programmed as a GIS spatial-analysis toolbox to compute the average height of target structures from the 3D lidar point clouds.

Keywords
Spatial patterns recognition; 3D structures; Vertical trends; Spatial homogeneity and heterogeneity; Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS); GIS

Cite this paper
Khodabakhsh Zabihi, Ginger B. Paige, Amarina Wuenschel, Azadeh Abdollahnejad, Dimitrios Panagiotidis, Increased understanding of structural complexity in nature: relationship between shrub height and changes in spatial patterns , SCIREA Journal of Geosciences. Volume 7, Issue 3, June 2023 | PP. 78-95. 10.54647/geosciences170298

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