Use of satellite remote sensing and climate data to predict the potential habitat distribution of Prosopis cineraria in the UAE

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Predicting species' suitable habitats is critical to biodiversity conservation planning and implementation. Species habitat distribution is closely linked to environmental and bioclimatic variables which are widely used for estimating habitat suitability (HS) from species distribution models (SDMs). Integration of environmental parameters derived from satellite remote sensing, bioclimatic variables, and edaphic properties has created an advanced way to improve the SDM performance. The objective of this study is to assess the performance for predicting the potential HS of the arid plant species using Maximum Entropy (MaxENT) species distribution model based on an ecological niche machine-learning algorithm. Prosopis cineraria (Ghaf) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was selected for the model simulation. The Ghaf tree is a keystone species to prevent desertification and improve soil fertility in arid environments. We have selected 33 environmental parameters, including satellite remote sensing data (MODIS NDVI, LST, and PET), WorldClim bioclimate variables and static edaphic properties (topography, elevation, soil quality) along with 100 field observations. Collinearity within the bioclimatic variables was eliminated using Pearson correlation. The variables with zero percentage contribution were eliminated for the final model simulation. To evaluate the contribution of environmental parameters to the performance of MaxEnt, we used three scenarios: a) All key predictor variables, b) Only bioclimatic variables, and c) without remote sensing variables. With scenario a) model simulation has substantially improved the potential HS prediction with mean AUC value 0.98, indicating a better predictive accuracy in the integration of satellite remote sensing data. MaxENT results showed that elevation, precipitation of coldest quarter, NDVI, and precipitation of warmest quarte had a significant contribution to the potential HS of Ghaf trees in the UAE. Model results showed that the spatial proportions of the potential HS in the UAE consisted of high (2%), medium (3.7%) and low (94.3%) suitability classes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRemote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology XXIII
EditorsChristopher M. U. Neale, Antonino Maltese
ISBN (Electronic)9781510645561
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventRemote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology XXIII 2021 - Virtual, Online, Spain
Duration: Sept 13 2021Sept 17 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceRemote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology XXIII 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • Habitat suitability
  • MaxEnt
  • NDVI
  • Prosopis cineraria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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