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Environ Manage. 2007 Jan;39(1):63-83. Epub 2006 Nov 29.

A comparison of spatial and spectral image resolution for mapping invasive plants in coastal california.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA, 95616, USA.


We explored the potential of detecting three target invasive species: iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis), jubata grass (Cortaderia jubata), and blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. We compared the accuracy of mapping six communities (intact coastal scrub, iceplant invaded coastal scrub, iceplant invaded chaparral, jubata grass invaded chaparral, blue gum invaded chaparral, and intact chaparral) using four images with different combinations of spatial and spectral resolution: hyperspectral AVIRIS imagery (174 wavebands, 4 m spatial resolution), spatially degraded AVIRIS (174 bands, 30 m), spectrally degraded AVIRIS (6 bands, 4 m), and both spatially and spectrally degraded AVIRIS (6 bands, 30 m, i.e., simulated Landsat ETM data). Overall success rates for classifying the six classes was 75% (kappa 0.7) using full resolution AVIRIS, 58% (kappa 0.5) for the spatially degraded AVIRIS, 42% (kappa 0.3) for the spectrally degraded AVIRIS, and 37% (kappa 0.3) for the spatially and spectrally degraded AVIRIS. A true Landsat ETM image was also classified to illustrate that the results from the simulated ETM data were representative, which provided an accuracy of 50% (kappa 0.4). Mapping accuracies using different resolution images are evaluated in the context of community heterogeneity (species richness, diversity, and percent species cover). Findings illustrate that higher mapping accuracies are achieved with images possessing high spectral resolution, thus capturing information across the visible and reflected infrared solar spectrum. Understanding the tradeoffs in spectral and spatial resolution can assist land managers in deciding the most appropriate imagery with respect to target invasives and community characteristics.

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