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Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Satellite Imagery Collections in a Coastal Intermediate Marsh to Determine the Land-Water Interface, Vegetation Types, and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) Values

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Technical Report

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PURPOSE The purpose of this project was to evaluate and compare methodologies for using remotely sensed hyperspatial imagery from both Unmanned Aircraft Systems UAS and next-generation satellite technology to calculate species composition and ecosystem service metrics in a coastal intermediate marsh. Such methods would be important steps towards comprehensive monitoring of wetland landscapes and would provide useful metrics to study wetland condition and response to ecosystem restoration and disturbance events. BACKGROUND Plant species composition, cover, density, and biomass are structural components of coastal marshes that are commonly used to quantify vegetative characteristics and often serve as indicators of wetland condition Chamberlain and Ingram 2012 Cretini et al. 2012. Historically, regional and coastwide surveys to map coastal vegetation have consisted of laborious traversing of wetland landscapes, including time consuming and subjective ocular estimates of species type and cover ONeil 1949 Chabreck and Linscombe 1978 Sasser et al. 2014. Although recent surveys, like those in coastal Louisiana, enlist the use of helicopters for transport between, and hovering over, sampling sites, they continue to rely on ocular estimates of dominant species and abundance i.e., Braun-Blanquet cover scale, they are costly, and are typically reproduced approximately every ten years. Rapid species classification even of dominant plants using remotely sensed data would provide many advantages over traditional field techniques. A primary monitoring program for coastal vegetation in Louisiana is the Coastwide Reference Monitoring System CRMS. CRMS sites are located throughout the Louisiana coastal zone and serve as the ambient coastal wetland monitoring network for the region Steyer 2010.

Subject Categories:

  • Pilotless Aircraft
  • Photography
  • Ecology

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