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Keywords:

  • aerial photography;
  • Baltic Sea;
  • coastal;
  • EU;
  • Habitats Directive

Abstract

  • 1.
    Implementation of the E.U. Habitats Directive requires information on the distribution, abundance and area covered by the habitats listed in Annex I of the Directive.
  • 2.
    In Finland, 21 of these habitats occur in marine and coastal areas. The demand for spatial information of these habitats is increasing, so rapid and relatively inexpensive mapping methods are needed.
  • 3.
    This study examines the identification of 15 habitats using high altitude black and white aerial photographs. Our goal was to find out how well these habitats could be identified using these types of photographs. We used a test group of 34 persons who were given only brief instructions on how to identify the habitats prior to the test. Their results were compared to a set of field data from an archipelago area at the entrance of the Gulf of Finland, in August 1999 and autumn 2000.
  • 4.
    The test group identified sandy beaches, lagoons, submerged sandbanks and cliffs with an accuracy of 82%, 71%, 66% and 65%, respectively. The main reasons for these high accuracy percentages were apparently the high contrast and/or easy delineation of the habitat from the surrounding areas.
  • 5.
    Reefs, wooded dunes and submerged reefs were identified with an accuracy of 39%, 44% and 45%, respectively. The remaining habitats were less precisely identified, apparently due to their small size or poor contrast to the surrounding areas.
  • 6.
    High altitude aerial photographs are shown to be a useful tool for identifying several of these habitats and can be used as a complement to field mapping methods, GIS methods and other remote sensing techniques. The use of high altitude photographs for monitoring change is discussed.

Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.