Submitted to: Landscape Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2001
Publication Date: August 1, 2002
Technical Abstract: Soil moisture constitutes an important element in the matter flow and connections between landscape components and spatial units. Remote sensing techniques are frequently used in landscape ecology. With new sensor technologies, especially passive microwave, it is now possible to map and monitor soil moisture. One of the passive microwave instruments is Electronically Scanned Thinned Array Radiometer (ESTAR). Deployed on an aircraft, it measures soil brightness temperature, which using a soil moisture retrieval algorithm can be converted into estimates of volumetric soil moisture. The retrieval algorithm also requires ancillary environmental data. The results of the data processing are the maps of the research area, showing spatial and temporal soil moisture variations. In the current investigation, geostatistical techniques were found useful in quantifying spatial variations in landscapes with remote sensing data. Semivariogram analysis was performed to investigate the spatial variation of soil moisture and its scale dependence with other environmental features. The analysis reveals dependency of soil moisture distribution at two scales--regional and local. On the regional scale rainfall is the dominant factor influencing soil moisture distribution. On the local scale soil texture is more important. Semivariogram features reflect these relationships. Information about soil moisture, obtained by relatively quick passive microwave techniques, over space and time, can be used in further landscape patterns analysis, landscape models, land use assessment and management.