Comparing pixel and object-based approaches to map an understorey invasive shrub in tropical mixed forests

Niphadkar, Madhura and Nagendra, Harini and Tarantino, Cristina and Blonda, Palma (2017) Comparing pixel and object-based approaches to map an understorey invasive shrub in tropical mixed forests. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8 (892).

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he establishment of invasive alien species in varied habitats across the world is now recognized as a genuine threat to the preservation of biodiversity. Specifically, plant invasions in understory tropical forests are detrimental to the persistence of healthy ecosystems. Monitoring such invasions using Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite remote sensing has been shown to be valuable in designing management interventions for conservation of native habitats. Object-based classification methods are very helpful in identifying invasive plants in various habitats, by their inherent nature of imitating the ability of the human brain in pattern recognition. However, these methods have not been tested adequately in dense tropical mixed forests where invasion occurs in the understorey. This study compares a pixel-based and object-based classification method for mapping the understorey invasive shrub Lantana camara (Lantana) in a tropical mixed forest habitat in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot in India. Overall, a hierarchical approach of mapping top canopy at first, and then further processing for the understorey shrub, using measures such as texture and vegetation indices proved effective in separating out Lantana from other cover types. In the first method, we implement a simple parametric supervised classification for mapping cover types, and then process within these types for Lantana delineation. In the second method, we use an object-based segmentation algorithm to map cover types, and then perform further processing for separating Lantana. The improved ability of the object-based approach to delineate structurally distinct objects with characteristic spectral and spatial characteristics of their own, as well as with reference to their surroundings, allows for much flexibility in identifying invasive understorey shrubs among the complex vegetation of the tropical forest than that provided by the parametric classifier. Conservation practices in tropical mixed forests can benefit greatly by adopting methods which use high resolution remotely sensed data and advanced techniques to monitor the patterns and effective functioning of native ecosystems by periodically mapping disturbances such as invasion.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biodiversity, Ecosystems, Plants.
Subjects: Natural Sciences > Life sciences; biology > Ecology
Divisions: Azim Premji University > School of Development
Depositing User: Mr. Krishnamoorti Chavan
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2018 09:08
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2018 03:33
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