Skip to Main Content
A simple method for estimating potential relative radiation (PRR) for landscape-vegetation analysis.Author(s): Kenneth B. Jr. Pierce; Todd Lookingbill; Dean Urban
Source: Landscape Ecology. 20: 137-147
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
PDF: Download Publication (949 KB)
DescriptionRadiation is one of the primary influences on vegetation composition and spatial pattern. Topographic orientation is often used as a proxy for relative radiation load due to its effects on evaporative demand and local temperature. Common methods for incorporating this information (i.e., site measures of slope and aspect) fail to include daily or annual changes in solar orientation and shading effects from local topography. As a result, these static measures do not incorporate the level of spatial and temporal heterogeneity required to examine vegetation patterns at the landscape level. We developed a widely applicable method for estimating potential relative radiation (PRR) using digital elevation data and a widely used geographic information system (Arc/Info). We found significant differences among four increasingly comprehensive radiation proxies. Our GIS-based proxy compared well with estimates from more data-intensive and computationally rigorous radiation models. We note that several recent studies have not found strong correlations between vegetation pattern and landscape-scale differences in radiation. We suggest that these findings may be due to the use of proxies that were not accurately capturing variability in radiation, and we recommend PRR or similar measures for use in future vegetation analyses.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationPierce, Kenneth B. Jr.; Lookingbill, Todd; Urban, Dean. 2005. A simple method for estimating potential relative radiation (PRR) for landscape-vegetation analysis. Landscape Ecology. 20: 137-147
Keywordsaspect, DEM, GIS, solar insolation, species-environment interactions, topographic effects, vegetation distribution
- Topography-mediated controls on local vegetation phenology estimated from MODIS vegetation index
- Ecosystem processes at the watershed scale: extending optimality theory from plot to catchment
- Spatial variation of fuel loading within varying aged stands of chaparral
XML: View XML