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Caractérisation de l’hétérogénéité spatiale de milieux naturels à partir d’imagerie optique très haute résolution spatiale : cas d’application aux milieux méditerranéens de garrigue

Abstract : The preservation of biodiversity is a priority issue, both at national, European and international levels. In order to provide a better understanding of ecosystem functioning, spatial heterogeneity of natural environments is becoming one of the key components for the study of biodiversity. The Mediterranean basin is a hotspot of biodiversity for which the synergies between biodiversity and spatial heterogeneity of landscapes are particularly important. Mediterranean environments are organized into heterogeneous mosaics of four vertical strata~: bare soil, herbs, low ligneous and high ligneous. The biodiversity of these unique hotspots is now threatened by a closure of the landscape that leads to the habitat loss and landscape homogenization. The loss of heterogeneity is also leading to an increase in fire risks.This thesis aims to develop indices characterizing the spatial heterogeneity of natural landscapes in a Mediterranean context using very high spatial resolution remote sensing images. Among the various methods dedicated to the characterization of heterogeneity, the FOTO (FOurier Based Textural Ordination) method is particularly relevant because it produces uncorrelated texture gradients in an unsupervised manner, allowing continuous variations in spatial heterogeneity to be characterized at different spatial scales. Thus, the first objective of this thesis is to test the potential of texture indices derived from the FOTO method for the characterization of spatial heterogeneity relative to four vertical strata. The second objective is to test the sensitivity of our approach to technical and environmental factors, in order to ensure its replicability, and promote its use in an operational context of monitoring Mediterranean environments. Finally, based on a case study centered on the spatial distribution of bird species sensitive to vegetation heterogeneity, the last objective is oriented towards the validation of the ecological relevance of the heterogeneity indices.Combined with a vegetation index, NDVI, the texture indices derived from the FOTO method could be interpreted in terms of spatial heterogeneity and make it possible to characterize the composition and organization of the four vertical strata studied. These indices are influenced bymultiple factors, including the anthropization of landscapes showing patterns translated into surfaces such as crops, and the nature of the radiometric information of the remote sensing images processed. This pattern information impacts the apparent contrast of vegetation strata. Thus, the application of the method on a panchromatic band is more sensitive to patterns related to the alternation of bare soil and herbs while the application of the method on NDVI is more sensitive to patterns related to the alternation of ligneous strata with the herbaceous stratum. Finally, we have shown the interest of the approach developed for the prediction of several bird species with high conservation stakes. Heterogeneity indices have made it possible to highlight vegetation structures that are particularly favourable to certain bird species.The approach developed in this thesis is particularly stimulating because it allows the unsupervised production of three complementary indices characterizing several components of spatial heterogeneity related to four strata. Further efforts are needed to improve i) our understanding of the contribution of environmental and instrumental factors to the stability of the approach and ii) its automation for application in an operational context for mapping and monitoring the conservation status of natural habitats and birdlife.
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Marc Lang. Caractérisation de l’hétérogénéité spatiale de milieux naturels à partir d’imagerie optique très haute résolution spatiale : cas d’application aux milieux méditerranéens de garrigue. Biodiversité et Ecologie. AgroParisTech, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019AGPT0003⟩. ⟨tel-02403051⟩

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