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Interplay between topography, fog and vegetation in the central South Arabian mountains revealed using a novel Landsat fog detection technique

Ball, Lawrence, Tzanopoulos, Joseph (2020) Interplay between topography, fog and vegetation in the central South Arabian mountains revealed using a novel Landsat fog detection technique. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, . ISSN 2056-3485. (doi:10.1002/rse2.151) (KAR id:79969)


In the central South Arabian mountains of Yemen and Oman, monsoon fog interception by the endemic cloud forest is essential for ecosystem functions and services. Yet, we know little about the local factors affecting fog distributions and their cumulative effects on vegetation. To examine these relationships, we developed a novel method of high-resolution fog detection using Landsat data, and validated the results using occurrence records of eight moisture-sensitive plant species. Regression tree analysis was then used to examine the topographic factors influencing fog distributions and the topoclimatic factors influencing satellite-derived vegetation greenness. We find that topography affects fog distributions. Specifically, steep windward slopes obstruct the inland movement of fog, resulting in heterogenous fog densities and hotspots of fog interception. We find that fog distributions explain patterns of vegetation greenness, and overall, that greenness increases with fog density. The layer of fog density describes patterns of vegetation greenness more accurately than topographic variables alone, and thus, we propose that regional vegetation patterns more closely follow a fog gradient, than an altitudinal gradient as previously supposed. The layer of fog density will enable an improved understanding of how species and communities, many of which are endemic, range-restricted, and in decline, respond to local variability in topoclimatic conditions.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/rse2.151
Uncontrolled keywords: topography, fog, vegetation, regression tree analysis (RTA), central South Arabian mountains (CSAM), Dhofar Oman, Mahra Yemen, monsoon, khareef, Anogeissus dhofarica, cloud forest, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Joseph Tzanopoulos
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2020 20:42 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2024 20:59 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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