Using remote sensing to track invasive trees

May 21, 2010

A team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists has refined remote sensing tools for identifying invasive Ashe juniper shrubs and trees in central Texas and nearby regions. These findings can help rangeland managers determine the extent and severity of Ashe juniper infestations and boost mitigation efforts.

Over the past century, the expansion of Ashe juniper has reduced the production and diversity of other rangeland plant species. Because Ashe juniper has little nutritional value for , the vegetative shift has also reduced forage options for livestock and wildlife.

ARS agricultural engineer Chenghai Yang and rangeland scientist James Everitt evaluated remotely sensed data to pinpoint the most accurate "signal" for identifying Ashe juniper stands, which often grow within an assortment of other woodland plants. Yang and Everitt work at the ARS Kika de la Garza Subtropical Agricultural Research Center in Weslaco, Texas.

Remotely sensed data were collected from two Texas sites that were populated with Ashe juniper and other associated plant communities. The data spanned 98 spectral bands--which are bands of light that are characterized by different wavelengths--that ranged from 475 to 845 nanometers.

Then the team used a called minimum noise fraction (MNF) transformation to reduce interference. In comparison with the original imagery, MNF imagery takes less time to process and less data space to store, especially when large amounts of remotely sensed data are being analyzed.

MNF transformation consolidated the spectral data into 50 distinct bands. Further analysis indicated that the first 10 bands from this group were the best for identifying Ashe juniper stands. Using these bands, the scientists were able to sufficiently distinguish Ashe juniper from other mixed woody species, other mixed herbaceous species bare and .

Explore further: A European bear's point of view, finally on film

More information: Results from this work were published in the International Journal of Remote Sensing.

Provided by United States Department of Agriculture

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Spread of Western Juniper Seeds Studied

Nov 05, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Aromatic, evergreen foliage and plump, dusty-blue to nearly purple berries make western juniper appealing, whether it's a small shrub or a lofty tree. The trouble is, during the past 100 years ...

In Brief: WiMax demand expected to surge

Jun 29, 2006

WiMax, or worldwide interoperability for microwave access, will become increasingly popular especially when it becomes more mobile, a research group said.

Why juniper trees can live on less water

Feb 27, 2008

An ability to avoid the plant equivalent of vapor lock and a favorable evolutionary history may explain the unusual drought resistance of junipers, some varieties of which are now spreading rapidly in water-starved ...

Recommended for you

Sharks contain more pollutants than polar bears

21 hours ago

The polar bear is known for having alarmingly high concentrations of PCB and other pollutants. But researchers have discovered that Greenland sharks store even more of these contaminants in their bodies.

Moth study suggests hidden climate change impacts

Apr 15, 2014

A 32-year study of subarctic forest moths in Finnish Lapland suggests that scientists may be underestimating the impacts of climate change on animals and plants because much of the harm is hidden from view.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.