Remote sensing in the UFZ is used as tool to fascilitate concrete thematic driven research in the fields of Soil and Landscapes, Vegetation, Water, Biodiversity and Urbanization.
Besides requiring different spatial and temporal scales, all fields exploit different sensors, use various approaches, and possess numerous investigation sites distributed globally. In order to get a brief overview of each of these aspects on the respective topic, follow the links given below.
Forests of the world are an important sink for carbon and of imense significance for the regulation of the climate. Most of all tropical rain forests play a descisive role, representing the majority of the above-ground biomass. Until now, these forests store more carbon than they emit (carbon sink), yet locally large differences may occur. Additionally, the influence of climate change and land-use on the carbon cycle in tropical forests is an important research field.
One objective is to estimate the biomass of these forests through the combination of forest models and remote sensing data, being able to supply information concerning the carbon cycle. One essential challenge plays the analysis and prediction of biomass across scales (upscaling) as, to date, the variation of biomass within a few hectare-large forest areas is less investigated. Specifically, for those areas unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) are most suitable, as representative forest areas can be mapped cost-efficiently and flexible in spatio-temporal terms.
BiodiversityThe importance of biodiversity (i.e., the variability within species, between species, and between ecosystems) for ecosystem functions and processes has been in the focus of research since many years now. With increasing world population, anthropogenic climatic and land-use change, intensified demand and pressures on natural resources and increasing impacts of non-native species, we currently observe a global decrease of biodiversity. Remote-sensing based biodiversity research at the UFZ focuses on (1) the large-scale quantification of global change drivers like climate and land-use and their effects on biodiversity and (2) the prediction of species distributions and biodiversity patterns.
WaterThe focus of remote sensing-based water research in the UFZ is directed towards groundwater as the essential water ressource in many arid regions to cope with the water demand for the increasing population. In parallel, information on groundwater flow, quality and quantity are only limited available. The objective is to gain spatially-continous information across-scales on groundwater flow from recharge to discharge areas, localise discharge locations and derive its quantity using multi-temporal and multi-sensoral information.
UrbanisationUrban areas possess highly diverse structures, extreme complex patterns and exhibit a very dynamic behaviour. Research in this field foccusses on sustainable urban development and concentrates on urban areas and its dynamics in different cultural contexts. We monitor neighbourhoods, cities or urban agglomerations with a variety of sensor and above different spatial and temporal scales. Analyses of spatio-temporal patterns explain spatial heterogeneity and are based on multitemporal aerial and satellite imageries. Beyond optical sensors, LiDAR data are part of the methodological tool kit to derive single objects (building, tree, etc.) as precise as possible.