Remote detection of invasive plants: a review of spectral, textural and phenological approaches
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- Bradley, B.A. Biol Invasions (2014) 16: 1411. doi:10.1007/s10530-013-0578-9
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Remote sensing image analysis is increasingly being used as a tool for mapping invasive plant species. Resulting distribution maps can be used to target management of early infestations and to model future invasion risk. Remote identification of invasive plants based on differences in spectral signatures is the most common approach, typically using hyperspectral data. But several studies have found that textural and phenological differences are also effective approaches for identifying invasive plants. I review examples of remote detection of invasive plants based on spectral, textural and phenological analysis and highlight circumstances where the different approaches are likely to be most effective. I also review sources and availability of remotely sensed data that could be used for mapping and suggest field data collection approaches that would support the analysis of remotely sensed data. Remote mapping of biological invasions remains a relatively specialized research topic, but the distinct cover, morphology and/or seasonality of many invaded versus native ecosystems suggests that more species could be detected remotely. Remote sensing can sometimes support early detection and rapid response directly, however, accurately detecting small, nascent populations is a challenge. However, even maps of heavily infested areas can provide a valuable tool for risk assessment by increasing knowledge about temporal and spatial patterns and predictors of invasion.