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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Estimating a distance dependent contagion function using point sample data

Ramezani, Habib; Holm, Soren


Natural events and human activities cause changes in landscape structure. Landscape metrics are used as a useful tool to study landscape trends and ecological processes related to the landscape structure. These metrics are commonly calculated on wall-to-wall raster data from remote sensing. A recent trend is to use sample data to estimate landscape metrics. In this study, point sampling was used to estimate a vector-based and distance dependent contagion metric. The metric is an extension of the established contagion. The statistical properties, for both unconditional and conditional contagions, were assessed by a point (point pairs) sampling experiment in maps from the National Inventory of landscapes in Sweden. Random and systematic sampling designs were tested for nine point distances and five sample sizes and for two classification systems.The systematic design showed slightly smaller root mean square error (RMSE) and bias than the random design. Both true and estimated values were calculated using computer programs in FORTRAN, which was specifically written for the purpose of the study. For a given sample size, RMSE and bias increased with increasing point distance. The estimator of unconditional contagion had acceptable RMSE and bias for moderate sample sizes, but in the conditional case the bias (and thus the RMSE) was unacceptably large. The main reason for this is that small classes (by area) affect both the true value of the contagion and are often missing in the sample. The method proposed can be adopted in gradient-based model of landscape structure where no distinct border is assumed between polygons. The method can also be applied in field-based inventories.


Bias; Landscape metrics; Monte-Carlo simulation; Point pairs; Point sampling; Root mean square error

Published in

Environmental and Ecological Statistics
2014, Volume: 21, number: 1, pages: 61-82

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      Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

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