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Saline wetlands in the semiarid environment of Central Spain are fragile and highly dynamic ecosystems that are affected by degradation processes as a result of anthropological influences. An increase in agricultural production has led to the development of large-scale irrigation schemes with overexploitation of groundwater, and with consequent effects on the complex hydrology and associated land use. In this work, data from field, hyperspectral airborne, and multispectral satellite sensors are used in order to determine changes of wetland characteristics over time. The spectra of surface components (soil, vegetation, and salt crusts) were selected from the hyperspectral data and identified as endmembers using a site-specific spectral library. The spectral information contained in these endmembers was extrapolated to a temporal series of broadband multispectral imagery on which spectral unmixing analysis was performed in order to detect changes in the wetland over time. Results showed that the selected wetland components have undergone important changes in both their total area as well as their spatial distribution. These changes are mainly associated with the anthropogenic impact; however, natural influences due to seasonal fluctuations may coincide with the overall changes, although this in general is difficult to determine. Water regulation and agricultural practices directly influence the salinity of the soils and therefore the nature of the hygrophytic vegetation.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:43 , Issue: 11 )
Date of Publication: Nov. 2005