Understanding biodiversity patterns and determinants of the patterns is a fundamental question in ecology and biogeography, and a basis for biodiversity conservation. Spatial heterogeneity of the land cover or habitat has been found to be one of the major determinants of biodiversity patterns at several scales for diverse taxa. Since remote sensing technology is an excellent tool for gathering detailed information on the land surface across large geographic areas, remotely sensed data may be useful for characterizing habitat heterogeneity across different scales.
However, global products of habitat heterogeneity derived from remotely sensed data are still lacking. Therefore, the objectives of this project are to explore different approaches to characterize spatial heterogeneity of land cover based on satellite images, to evaluate the usefulness of different heterogeneity measures for estimating and mapping biodiversity, and to generate global products of these measures to improve our understanding of large-scale biodiversity patterns and to facilitate global biodiversity conservation.