Coastal Great Lakes detection and mapping of the invasive Phragmites australis wetland species with ALOS PALSAR imagery

Document Type

Conference Paper/Presentation

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Phragmites australis, an invasive plant that can form dense monocultures, causing negative impacts on coastal Great Lakes wetlands by reducing ecosystem services including wildlife habitat. Through Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding, ALOS PALSAR imagery was used to map the invasive plant across U.S. coastal Great Lakes wetlands, creating the first U.S. basin-wide distribution map of this species. Methods included maximum likelihood classification of multi-season data from the Japanese ALOS PALSAR L-band (23 cm wavelength) HH and HV polarization sensor. L-band imaging radar data are sensitive to differences in plant biomass and inundation patterns, allowing for the delineation of the tall (up to 5 m), high-density, high-biomass Phragmites wetland stands. Extensive field collections of training and randomly selected validation data were conducted in 2010-11 to aid in mapping and for accuracy assessments. These maps are being used as part of a USGS Great Lakes Science Center and USFWS National Wetlands Inventory program to identify major environmental drivers of invasive Phragmites distribution, to assess areas vulnerable to new invasion, and to provide this information through a decision support http://cida.usgs.gov/glri/phragmites/.

Publisher's Statement

© 2013 The authors.

Publication Title

IAGLR 56th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research