Authors: Jan R. K. Lehmann, Torsten Prinz, Silvia R. Ziller, Jan Thiele, Gustavo Heringer, João A. A. Meira-Neto and Tillmann K. Buttschardt
Journal Title: Frontiers in Environmental Science
ISSN: 2296-665X (Online)
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Remote sensing by Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) is a dynamic evolving technology. UAS are particularly useful in environmental monitoring and management because they have the capability to provide data at high temporal and spatial resolutions. Moreover, data acquisition costs are lower than those of conventional methods such as extensive ground sampling, manned airplanes, or satellites. Small fixed-wing UAS in particular offer further potential benefits as they extend the operational coverage of the area under study at lower operator risks and accelerate data deployment times. Taking these aspects into account, UAS might be an effective tool to support management of invasive plant based on early detection and regular monitoring. A straightforward UAS approach to map invasive plant species is presented in this study with the intention of providing ready-to-use field maps essential for action-oriented management. Our UAS utilizes low-cost sensors, free-of-charge software for mission planning and an affordable, commercial aerial platform to reduce operational costs, reducing expenses with personnel while increasing overall efficiency. We illustrate our approach using a real example of invasion by Acacia mangium in a Brazilian Savanna ecosystem. A. mangium was correctly identified with an overall accuracy of 82.7% from the analysis of imagery. This approach provides land management authorities and practitioners with new prospects for environmental restoration in areas where invasive plant species are present.

Photo: (A) The fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) used, a SkyWalker 2014 with a wingspan of 1,900 mm. The image shown is being published with the consent of the subject (B) The UAS can be totally disassembled in a few minutes for easy transportation with one single Allen key (C) The downward pointing camera lens is protected against dust and mechanical stress by a neutral glass filter glued to the fuselage. (credits: Jan R. K. Lehmann, Torsten Prinz, Silvia R. Ziller, Jan Thiele, Gustavo Heringer, João A. A. Meira-Neto and Tillmann K. Buttschardt)

Copyright © 2017 Lehmann, Prinz, Ziller, Thiele, Heringer, Meira-Neto and Buttschardt. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


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