Silke Boldt / Anke Steinmann
Institute of Biodiversity

Bundesallee 65
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 2502
Phone: +49 531 596 2503
Fax: +49 531 596 2599

Assessing patterns of biodiversity in grasslands through remote sensing


Species-rich grassland in the Thuringian Forest (c) Landschaftspflegeverband Thüringer Wald e.V.
Species-rich grassland in the Thuringian Forest (© Landschaftspflegeverband Thüringer Wald e.V.)

Assessing the potential of remote sensing data in the fields of land use, agricultural economics and biodiversity

Extensively used meadows and pastures play an important role for biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Satellite remote sensing imagery with a high spatial and temporal resolution can be used to map biodiversity components.

Background and Objective

So far, the resolution of freely available satellite remote sensing data in Germany and in the EU was too low and thus only of limited use for the description and analysis of land use dynamics. Since 2015, the European Earth observation programme “Copernicus” provides high resolution satellite remote sensing data regarding area and time dimensions. This new quality of data offers the opportunity to display up-to-date information on the land use and land use structures in Germany with a high degree of spatial accuracy for each single plot of land. Thus, this satellite remote sensing data could help to improve the explanation of the relationship between land use intensity and its regional distribution and to better answer questions regarding the protection of abiotic resources as well as the distribution and development of biodiversity.

The main focus at the Institute of Biodiversity is on the use of remote sensing to assess biodiversity patterns in agricultural landscapes, mainly in grasslands. For this purpose, Copernicus data, but also data with a higher spatial or spectral resolution, will be used to differentiate vegetation patterns at a small spatial scale.

The following objectives should be achieved:

  1. Differentiation of different grassland types
  2. Development of methods and derivation of parameters to assess biodiversity patterns in grasslands
  3. Remote sensing based modelling of the spatial distribution of selected biodiversity components


The following steps will be developed:

  • Building a test environment for the use of Sentinel 1 and Sentinel 2 data
  • Determining parameters to differentiate grassland types
  • Analysing relationships between spectral and textural information of different remote sensing sensors and biodiversity components
  • Developing methods to map patterns of biodiversity in grasslands considering different sensors
  • Transferring results to a larger area through modelling



Involved Thünen-Partners


9.2017 - 8.2021

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: finished