A GIS-based empirical model for vegetation prediction in Lefka Ori, Crete
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1007/s11258-005-9075-2
The aim of the study was to establish and verify a predictive vegetation model for plant community distribution in the alti-Mediterranean zone of the Lefka Ori massif, western Crete. Based on previous work three variables were identified as significant determinants of plant community distribution, namely altitude, slope angle and geomorphic landform. The response of four community types against these variables was tested using classification trees analysis in order to model community type occurrence. V-fold cross-validation plots were used to determine the length of the best fitting tree. The final 9node tree selected, classified correctly 92.5% of the samples. The results were used to provide decision rules for the construction of a spatial model for each community type. The model was implemented within a Geographical Information System (GIS) to predict the distribution of each community type in the study site. The evaluation of the model in the field using an error matrix gave an overall accuracy of 71%. The user's accuracy was higher for the Crepis-Cirsium (100%) and Telephium-Herniaria community type (66.7%) and relatively lower for the Peucedanum-Alyssum and Dianthus-Lomelosia community types (63.2% and 62.5%, respectively). Misclassification and field validation points to the need for improved geomorphological mapping and suggests the presence of transitional communities between existing community types.