Managing plant invasions through the lens of remote sensing: A review of progress and the way forward

Año Publicación:  2018
Responsable: A. Vaz et al.
Journal, Volumen y páginas:
Science of The Total Environment 642


A. Vaz, D. Alcaraz-Segura, J. Vicente, J. Campos & J. Honrado


Biological invasions are a challenging driver of global environmental change and a fingerprint of the Anthropocene. Remote sensing has gradually become a fundamental tool for understanding invasion patterns, processes and impacts. Nevertheless, a quantitative overview of the progress and extent of remote sensing applications to the management of plant invasions is lacking. This overview is particularly necessary to support the development of more operational frameworks based on remote sensing that can effectively improve the management of invasions. Here, we evaluate and discuss the progress, current state and future opportunities of remote sensing for the research and management of plant invasions. Supported on a systematic literature review, our study shows that, since the 1970s, remote sensing was mainly used to map and identify invasive plants, evolving, around the mid-2000s, towards a tool for assessing invasion impacts. Although remote sensing studies often focus on detecting plant invaders at advanced invasion stages, they can also contribute to the prediction of early invasion stages and to the assessment of their impacts. Despite the growing awareness of technical limitations, remote sensing offers many opportunities to further improve the management of plant invasions. These opportunities relate to the capacity of remote sensing to: (a) detect and evaluate the extent of invasions, assisting on any management option aiming at mitigating plant invasions and their impacts; (b) consider modelling frameworks that anticipate future invasions, supporting the prevention and eradication at early invasion stages and protecting ecosystems and the services they provide; and (c) monitor changes in invasion dominance, as well as the resulting impacts, supporting mitigation, restoration and adaptation actions. Finally, we discuss the way forward to make remote sensing more effective in the scope of invasion management, considering current and future Earth observation missions.

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