A novel Multilevel Biodiversity Index (MBI) for combined field and satellite imagery surveys
Cazzolla Gatti R
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In an epoch of fast and dramatic changes in ecosystems, a complete survey of biodiversity and an analysis of its spatial patterns from the field shall be associated with satellite imagery, which can provide a synoptic observation in space and time of the territory. This work presents the preliminary results of a new approach to monitor the biodiversity of a well-defined area, which takes into account species diversity and the landscape characteristics in terms of ecosystems diversity (land cover classes). We developed a Multilevel Biodiversity Index (MBI) and we tested it in a study site of 400 km2, belonging to the Central Mediterranean Ecoregion and consisting of forested areas, scrublands and steppes (Murge). With the aim to reach a global land cover classification system and a standardisation of the biodiversity surveys, the MBI can be easily adapted to study areas of different ecoregions on Earth. This index could certainly be useful for future studies and to address environmental policies in order to protect vulnerable ecosystems and assign a conservation priority rank that takes into account the presence of diversity both in terms of species and ecosystems.