Detecting leafy spurge in native grassland using hyperspectral image analysis

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Kloppenburg, Catherine
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Geography, 2014
Leafy spurge (Euphoria esula L.) is a perennial noxious weed that has been encroaches on the native grassland regions of North America resulting in biological and economic impacts. Leafy spurge growth is most prevalent along river banks and in pasture areas. Due to poor accessibility and the cost and labour associated with data collection, estimates of number and size of leafy spurge infestations is poor. Remote sensing has the ability to cover large areas, providing an alternate means to ground surveys and will allow for the capability to create an accurate baseline of infestations. Airborne hyperspectral data were collected over the two test sites selected on the Blood Reserve in Southern Alberta using a combined Airborne Imaging Spectrometer for different Applications (AISA) Eagle and Hawk sensor systems in July, 2010. This study used advanced analysis tools, including spectral mixture analysis, spectral angle mapper and mixture-tuned matched filter techniques to evaluate the ability to detect leafy spurge patches. The results show that patches of leafy spurge with flowering stem density >40 stems m-2 were identified with 85 % accuracy while identification of lower density stems were less accurate (10 - 40 %). The results are promising with respect to quantifying areas of significant leafy spurge infestation and targeting biological control and potential insect release sites.
Euphorbia esula , Native grasslands , Leafy spurge infestations