Dolines and cats : remote detection of karst depressions and their application to study wild felid ecology
ID Čonč, Špela (Author), ID Oliveira, Teresa (Author), ID Portas, Ruben (Author), ID Černe, Rok (Author), ID Breg Valjavec, Mateja (Author), ID Krofel, Miha (Author)

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Automatic methods for detecting and delineating relief features allow remote and low-cost mapping, which has an outstanding potential for wildlife ecology and similar research. We applied a filled-DEM (digital elevation model) method using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data to automatically detect dolines and other karst depressions in a rugged terrain of the Dinaric Mountains, Slovenia. Using this approach, we detected 9711 karst depressions in a 137 km$^2$ study area and provided their basic morphometric characteristics, such as perimeter length, area, diameter, depth, and slope. We performed visual validation based on shaded relief, which indicated 83.5% accordance in detecting depressions. Although the method has some drawbacks, it proved suitable for detection, general spatial analysis, and calculation of morphometric characteristics of depressions over a large scale in remote and forested areas. To demonstrate its applicability for wildlife research, we applied it in a preliminary study in combination with GPS-telemetry data to assess the selection of these features by two wild felids, the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) and the European wildcat (Felis silvestris). Both species selected for vicinity of karst depressions, among which they selected for larger karst depressions. Lynx also regularly killed ungulate prey near these features, as we found more than half of lynx prey remains inside or in close vicinity of karst depressions. These results illustrate that karstic features could play an important role in the ecology of wild felids and warrant further research, which could be considerably assisted with the use of remote detection of relief features.

Keywords:geographic information systems, digital elevation model, LiDAR, Mediterranean karst, Lynx (genus), wildcat, animal ecology, Slovenia, karst depressions, geomorphology, telemetry, spatial ecology, wild felids
Work type:Article
Typology:1.01 - Original Scientific Article
Organization:BF - Biotechnical Faculty
Publication status:Published
Publication version:Version of Record
Number of pages:16 str.
Numbering:Vol. 14, iss. 3, art. 656
PID:20.500.12556/RUL-136993 This link opens in a new window
ISSN on article:2072-4292
DOI:10.3390/rs14030656 This link opens in a new window
COBISS.SI-ID:96110339 This link opens in a new window
Publication date in RUL:27.05.2022
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Title:Remote sensing
Shortened title:Remote sens.
COBISS.SI-ID:32345133 This link opens in a new window


License:CC BY 4.0, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Description:This is the standard Creative Commons license that gives others maximum freedom to do what they want with the work as long as they credit the author.
Licensing start date:01.02.2022

Secondary language

Keywords:geografski informacijski sistemi, digitalni model višin, lidar, sredozemski kras, ris (rod), divja mačka, ekologija živali, Slovenija


Funder:ARRS - Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije
Project number:N1-0163
Name:Vpogled v medvrstne in znotrajvrstne interakcije med prostoživečimi mačkami v Evropi in Afriki

Funder:ARRS - Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije
Project number:J6-2592
Name:Koncept soodvisnosti v krasu: povezanost vrtač in jam z vidika antropogenih vplivov

Funder:EC - European Commission
Project number:LIFE16 NAT/SL/000634
Acronym:LIFE Lynx

Funder:ARRS - Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije
Project number:P6-0101
Name:Geografija Slovenije

Funder:ARRS - Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije
Funding programme:Young researchers

Funder:FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P.
Project number:SFRH/BD/144110/2019

Funder:ARRS - Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije
Project number:P4-0059
Name:Gozd, gozdarstvo in obnovljivi gozdni viri

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