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Hyperspectral Remote Sensing, Gps, and GIS Applications in Opportunistic Plant Species Monitoring of Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands

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Abstract:Coastal wetlands of the Laurentian Great Lakes (LGL) are among the most fragmented and disturbed ecosystems of the world, with a long history of human-induced disturbance. LGL wetlands have undergone losses in the biological diversity that coincides with an increase in the presence and dominance of several opportunistic plant species, including the common reed (Phragmites australis). Typically, P. australis communities form large monospecific "stands" that may predominate in wetland plant communities, supplanting other plant taxa. Compared to other more heterogeneous plant communities, P. australis stands are less suitable as animal habitat and reduce the overall biological diversity of wetlands. From a LGL resource perspective, P. australis is difficult to manage because it is persistent, produces a large amount of biomass, propagates easily, and is very difficult to control with mechanical or chemical techniques. We used a combined field and remote-sensing based approach to develop a semi-automated detection and mapping technique to support P. australis monitoring and assessment. Real-time- corrected GPS locations of field data provided an important measurable link between airborne sensor data and information about the physical structure of these plant communities, including physical structure of individual plants, soil type, soil moisture content, and the characteristics of other associated plant taxa. Ten LGL wetland sites on Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, and Lake Huron were mapped in 2001, and resampled for mapping accuracy in 2002. User's accuracy of semi-autornated maps for P. australis exceeds 90% at some of the wetland sites. The results of this study demonstrate a technique for combining hyperspectral airborne remote sensing data, precision GPS data, and GIS techniques to map plant species and plant community characteristics under ephemeral wetland conditions. Our results demonstrate how remote sensor technologies may offer effective semi-automated methods for monitoring opportunistic plant species over large geographic regions.
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Citation:Lopez, R. D., C. M. Edmonds, and J. G. Lyon. Hyperspectral Remote Sensing, Gps, and GIS Applications in Opportunistic Plant Species Monitoring of Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands. Presented at American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Las Vegas, NV, July 27-30, 2003.
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Contact: Chris Siebert - (702) 798-2234 or siebert.christopher@epa.gov
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Division: Environmental Sciences Division
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Branch: Landscape Ecology Branch
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 07/27/2003
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Development of Landscape Indicators for Use in Regional Ecological Risk Assessments
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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