What is vegetation?

Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region; it refers to the ground cover provided by plants, and is, by far, the most abundant biotic element of the biosphere.

Vegetable Health Map

The study area shown below represents an area of 19.8 acres near Ville Noire part of Grand Port District, Mauritius. The Vegetation health map is a visual indicator that uses the red and near-infrared spectral bands. It is highly associated with vegetation content. It can be used in numerous remote sensing applications, like crop phenology determination, crop type identification, crop health, forest monitoring etc. The Vegetation health map shown in the area shows healthy vegetation and trees in the green colours, dry vegetation in yellow colours and Bare soil/ areas without vegetation cover in red colours.

Vegetation Trend variation from 2018/19/20

The vegetation trend shows slight increase in vegetation health compared to last year and predicts that it shall remain consistent for the month of March –April 2020.

Importance of good vegetation

  1. Vegetation regulates the flow of numerous biogeochemical cycles, most critically those of water, carbon, and nitrogen; it is also of great importance in local and global energy balances. Such cycles are important not only for global patterns of vegetation but also for those of climate.
  2. Vegetation strongly affects soil characteristics, including soil volume, chemistry and texture, which feed back to affect various vegetational characteristics, including productivity and structure.
  3. Vegetation serves as wildlife habitat and the energy source for the vast array of animal species on the planet (and, ultimately, to those that feed on these).
  4. Vegetation is also critically important to the world economy, particularly in the use of fossil fuels as an energy source, but also in the global production of food, wood, fuel and other materials. Perhaps most importantly, global vegetation (including algal communities) has been the primary source of oxygen in the atmosphere, enabling the aerobic metabolism systems to evolve and persist.
  5. Vegetation is psychologically important to humans, who evolved in direct contact with, and dependence on, vegetation, for food, shelter, and medicines.

Vegetation indicators

Vegetation condition is a key aspect of degradation in grasslands, wood/forest lands and croplands. Below are the eight key vegetative indicators of degradation

Decline in vegetation cover (plant and litter): reduced cover means increased exposure of the land to sun, wind, rain and wind and water erosion;. Vegetation cover can be divided into basal cover (herbaceous), shrub cover and canopy cover (trees) for a more in depth analysis.

Changes in vegetation structure and species composition which determines cover, shade, use and productivity. Change in dominant species is a key indicator of degradation and the share of beneficial / economically valuable species to harmful / unpalatable / invasive species influences productivity and livelihoods.

Decline in species and habitat diversity: reduction or loss of biodiversity is associated with loss of useful products and functions (habitat for wildlife, pollinators) and reduced resilience (e.g. to climate change and to pests and diseases).

Reduced vegetation health and productivity which includes the vegetation quality or extent of damage of natural and planted species (e.g. to leaves, buds, roots, cambium, branches, trunk) by fire, pests, over-exploitation, etc., and reduced growth/ regeneration capacity of forest, shrubs, trees and herbaceous species (few young plants, many old/ senescent plants).

Ground cover: as with pasture and forest land soil, ground cover by live vegetation or crop residues is a key factor in protecting the soil from raindrop impact, soil erosion, high temperatures and excess evaporation.

Permanence of the crops or period of cover: determines exposure of bare soil and erosion risk.

Cropping system diversity: diverse crop systems provide resilience to pests, diseases, capacity to restore and make better use of nutrients, organic matter and reduce erosion risk (e.g. a multi-storey agroforestry system will intercept and make better use of rainwater and the deep soil profile and protect the ground from erosion more than a cereal field.

Use of natural vegetation for restoring soil protection and organic matter content, also other uses (e.g. wood and non wood forest products etc).

Neos Core Ltd provides an E-service for vegetation health for the following purpose: 

  • To monitor the stress level of the crops.
  • To identify potential disease that may affect the crops.
  • To determine the health status of the crops.
  • To determine the best yield possible based on actual status of the corps health.

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Vegetable Health Map