Just got an article out in PlosOne. Analysis were carried out and maps and figures created using a stack of open source tools, including GRASS GIS, R, and QGIS. The article addresses the question whether protected areas in Eastern Africa are representative of the diverse range of species and habitats found in the region and whether they protect those areas where biodiversity is threatened most? The paper uses a recently developed high-resolution potential natural vegetation (PNV) map for eastern Africa as a baseline to more effectively identify conservation priorities. It examines how well different potential natural vegetations (PNVs) are represented in the protected area (PA) network of eastern Africa and used a multivariate environmental similarity index to evaluate biases in PA versus PNV coverage. In addition, levels of threat to different PNVs are assessed. Results indicate substantial differences in the conservation status of PNVs and particular PNVs in which biodiversity protection and ecological functions are at risk due to human influences are revealed. The data and approach presented here provide a step forward in developing more transparent and better informed translation from global priorities to regional or national implementation in eastern Africa, and are valid for other geographic regions.
Citation: van Breugel P., R. Kindt, J.-P.B. Lillesø, M. van Breugel (2015) Environmental Gap Analysis to Prioritize Conservation Efforts in Eastern Africa. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0121444. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121444
Just a thumbs-up for the developers of GRASS GIS, who evidently do not rest on their laurels since their release of GRASS GIS 7.0. Below one of those more visible new features in the GRASS GIS development version which make live just that much easier.
A really welcome addition to the drop-down menu for selection of raster or vector layers. It now shows the open maps under a separate header.
This new feature created by Nyall Dawson and funded through crowd funding really sets new limits in terms of what is possible in terms of cartography. Check out Nyall’s post Introducing QGIS live layer effects! for a walk through of the new possibilities that this features brings to QGIS. It will be available in version 2.10, or if you can’t wait you download a QGIS development snapshot from the QGIS website to help in testing.
I am looking at species richness and number of threatened species across the landscape in eastern Africa and will explain briefly how you can create a map based on data from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species spatial data set. Continue reading
The data set
The Global Land Cover Facility offers, amongst many other data sets, the MODIS Vegetation Continuous Fields data set for download. These are layers that contain proportional estimates for vegetative cover types (woody vegetation, herbaceous vegetation, and bare ground). As such they are very suitable depict areas of heterogeneous land cover.
Their MODIS products differ from DAAC editions by coming in GeoTIFF format, geographic coordinates, WGS84 datum, and a tiling system designed to fit well with Landsat imagery. Currently the collection 5 is available, which contains proportional estimates for woody cover vegetation for the years 2000 to 2010. It can be downloaded as tiles (195 in total) via a ftp server.
Below I’ll provide an example Continue reading
ISRIC, Earth Institute, Columbia University, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) have recently released a new data set of raster layers with various predicted soil properties. This data set is referred to as the “AfSoilGrids250m” data set. It supersedes the SoilGrids1km data set and comes at a resolution of 250 meter. The AfSoilGrids250m data (GeoTIFFs) are available for download under the Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license. See this page for download information.
In this post I’ll show you how you can import this data set in a GRASS GIS database. Continue reading
The latest version of QGIS, version 2.8 aka QGIS Wien, has been released. Besides along list of new features and improvements (check out the visual change log), this is also the first release designated an ‘LTR’ (Long Term Release).
LTR releases will be supported with backported bug fixes for one year, and will be in permanent feature freeze (i.e. no new features will be added, only bug fixes and trivial updates). This may be particularly important for enterprises and organisations that do not want to deal with updating user skills, training materials etc. more than once per year.
The list of new features and improvements is really too long to summarize here, and there are too many to pinpoint one favourite. So instead I would say, check it out yourself!