Here’s How To Use Camera In The Sky To Track Invasive Plant Species

Here's How To Use Camera In The Sky To Track Invasive Plant Species

Pretty pink, white and orange flowers of this tree Lantana camara or crazy sage, are typical in decorative gardens across many areas of the planet.

The aggressive development of Lantana camara in habitats beyond its native land (initially the American tropics) has resulted in its spread across 20 million hectares. From the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Hills Tiger Reserve at Southern peninsular India, we’ve researched the spread of this tree at dense thorny thickets throughout the playground, where it’s choked out plant species, also blocked the movement of wildlife, making a significant challenge for park managers.

Lantana camara isn’t exceptional in its consequences.

Conservation planners, like the supervisors of this Biligiri Ranganathaswamy book, find it a struggle to include the competitive growth of these invasive alien plants, which affect local biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Most competitive tree invaders like Lantana camara partly or totally replace the indigenous tree species in woods.

Tracking The Invaders

It’s very important to seek out solutions which could offer high quality, frequently updated maps of their distribution of invasive plants, which means they may be efficiently found, concentrated and eliminated. Given that the large areas where they disperse, managers are turning to high-tech techniques like remote sensing.

This entails photographing landscapes with special cameras in distance (on satellites) or in atmosphere (on aircraft), which discover more than that which the human eye may see, such as due to their capability to record data from the infra-red and sustainable visible spectrum of light, then deriving information from these types of images.

In the past several decades, very large resolution satellite data is now available. These may detect objects under a meter in size, and also have higher ability to differentiate the identity of crops because of pictures taken in thin, highly unique wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. .

We analyzed recent study in this way, discovering that while the improvements in tech help, they ought to be used with environmental understanding of plant behavior, for more successful mapping.

Plant functional traits function as an efficient approach to capture several important features of invasive species which may be used for mapping through satellites. Plant traits are attributes of plant structure and function which affect how they disperse, survive and react to ecological and other ailments. One of the several traits that plants possess, some are ideal for mapping using satellite information. These may be broadly divided into three kinds – seasonal (phenological), physiological and structural.

Seasonal Traits

Plants create leaves, blossoms and seeds at particular times of the year, and this may be monitored by remote sensing.

This is a particularly effective approach to map herbs and shrubs, which are below the canopy and therefore obscured in the satellite detectors.

Structural And Physiological Features

Structural traits like clumping into clusters dispersed among plants that are native, or elevation — may also be used efficiently for mapping. In our research from the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy book, we could map Lantana camara’s big neighboring clumps spreading patterns. LIDAR data that use pulsed laser light beams to supply 3 dimensional channels of the planet’s surface, can also be useful, for example to track the supply of five invasive trees species in Hawaiian woods.

Invasive alien plants are usually able to propagate quicker due to bodily attributes such as faster growth because of greater resource utilisation.

Protecting World Biodiversity

Ever since that time, remote sensing was proposed as an instrument to attain this target and is now entering its golden era with drone mapping.

Combining environmental insights with innovative remote sensing technologies can enable society to satisfy its dedication towards biodiversity protection.