“Lameiros” are ancestral semi-natural meadows, essential elements of mountain landscapes in Northern Portugal. In the “lameiros” a traditional irrigation system is used and water is applied all year around. They are mainly used for forage production for autochthonous bovine feeding, but they are also important for the water and nutrients cycle regulation, erosion control and as barrier to forest fires propagation. Although recognized for their economical, environmental, landscaping, cultural and genetic value, the perpetuation of these “lameiros” could be at risk, at medium term, due to human desertification in the mountain regions and to the announced constraints in use of water resources. To preserve these landscapes it is essential to know them better and to better characterize them. Therefore a monitoring program using remote sensing tools is now being developed to evaluate different patterns of “lameiros”, and their spatial extent and evolution. Two important questions are determinant in this program: the selection of the most appropriate spatial resolution for monitoring “lameiros”, and the availability of satellite historical data. In this context, NDVI were compared in two selected test sites, with and without full irrigation. Data were derived from several field campaigns with a spectroradiometer and using different sensors: i) Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 (30m pixel), ii) SPOT 4 and SPOT 2 (20m pixel), iii) SPOT 5 (10m pixel). The NDVI temporal series produced were evaluated considering “lameiros” management and weather data. Results obtained so far indicate that the SPOT images provide data at the most adequate scale.
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