An ontological system based on MODIS images to assess ecosystem functioning of Natura 2000 habitats: A case study for *Quercus pyrenaica* forests


The implementation of the Natura 2000 network requires methods to assess the conservation status of habitats. This paper shows a methodological approach that combines the use of (satellite) Earth observation with ontologies to monitor Natura 2000 habitats and assess their functioning. We have created an ontological system called Savia that can describe both the ecosystem functioning and the behaviour of abiotic factors in a Natura 2000 habitat. This system is able to automatically download images from MODIS products, create indicators and compute temporal trends for them. We have developed an ontology that takes into account the different concepts and relations about indicators and temporal trends, and the spatio-temporal components of the datasets. All the information generated from datasets and MODIS images, is stored into a knowledge base according to the ontology. Users can formulate complex questions using a SPARQL end-point. This system has been tested and validated in a case study that uses Quercus pyrenaica Willd. forests as a target habitat in Sierra Nevada (Spain), a Natura 2000 site. We assess ecosystem functioning using NDVI. The selected abiotic factor is snow cover. Savia provides useful data regarding these two variables and reflects relationships between them.

International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Antonio J. Pérez-Luque
Antonio J. Pérez-Luque

My research interests include Global Change Ecology, Data Science and Remote Sensing matter.