Bryophytes and lichens become increasingly visible through remote sensing data: new avenues for research and conservation
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Proposed Symposium Title: Bryophytes and lichens become increasingly visible through remote sensing data: new avenues for research and conservation
Carlos Cerrejón1,2, Enrique Hernández-Rodríguez2, Maxence Martin2, Nicole J. Fenton2 and Osvaldo Valeria2,3
Affiliations: 1 Conservation research group. Biodiversity and Global Change, Universidad de Extremadura, 06006 Badajoz, Spain 2 Institut de recherche sur les forêts, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 445 boul. de l'Université, Rouyn-Noranda, Québec J9X 5E4, Canada 3 Hémera Centro de Observación de la Tierra, Escuela de Ingeniería Forestal, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Mayor, Camino La Pirámide 5750, Huechuraba, Santiago 8580745, Chile
Bryophytes and lichens are ubiquitous taxa contributing significatively to total biodiversity and ecosystem functioning worldwide. Conservation of these ecologically important and sensitive species is however hampered by current knowledge gaps on their diversity, ecology and distribution. Remote sensing (RS) can significantly aid to fill these gaps through its direct and indirect approaches. The direct approach consists in detecting the target species or specific attributes by directly capturing their spectral information, while the indirect approach focusses on the characterization of any habitat factor related to any aspect of the species, allowing for the quantification and eventual specialisation of their relationship across the landscape. Here, we provide a systematic review on the application of RS for the study of bryophyte and lichens, whose potential, as an emerging research area, remains largely unexplored. We identified a total of 101 articles on this topic, of which 55 and 46 followed a direct and indirect approach, with bryophytes and lichens being relatively well represented across them. Both approaches have used very diverse RS information, from purely spectral to indicative of topography, geology, vegetation, wetness, presence of snow, land uses or natural disturbances. They have been derived from a wide variety of airborne and satellite sensors (either optical or active). The direct approach has mainly focused on cover, health and vegetation types, while the indirect approach on α- and β-diversity, distribution, cover and abundance. By synthetizing the results and performances obtained in the reviewed articles across RS approaches, sensors, spatial resolutions and target aspects, we provide discussion on the limitations, knowledge gaps and new opportunities on the use of this technology for bryophyte and lichen research, as well as on the promising role that RS can play for improving their representation in conservation planning.