The overall objective is to develop and test a methodology to integrate landform elements within the landscape definition, in order to analyse and model the effects of spatial pattern on ecological phenomena.
In details, this research projects has three distinct objectives:
- To improve and test the automated system of classification of landform elements.
- To set up a new methodology for delineation of the complex landscape units.
- To use the complex landscape units to assess the ecological quality of sites and the change dynamics, tailored to the requirements of the environmental reporting in the NATURA2000 context.
These objectives will be achieved based on innovative application of Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing techniques, which are integrated in order to create an original research workflow. A key concept in this research is the object-oriented image analysis.
Digital Terrain Models (DTM) and satellite imagery will be basic inputs to create landform and land cover/land use maps, which will be then used for the delineation of complex landscape units. Landscape metrics applications will be performed to assess the ecological quality of sites. Change detection will be the tool to evaluate change dynamics. Mountainous and hilly environments in Romania, Germany and Austria will provide the study sites.
The combination of candidate, host, supervisor and project are set to have synergistic effects. They fulfil the objectives of the Marie Curie initiative under FP6, to enhance mobility in particular of young researchers who advance novel ideas between European countries. The study of habitats, ecosystems and biological diversity has been identified as one of the priority areas in FP6.
This project will significantly contribute to this priority b y structuring our understanding of threatened habitats, evaluating the conservation measures that have been taken, identifying and monitoring the Sites of Community Importance, under the 'Habitat' Directive.
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