Identifying invasive plants

Invasive, non-native plant species such as Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) and Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata) can be a continued threat to the natural ecosystems of the US.

An increasing threat to biodiversity

A threat to native biodiversity and natural ecosystems, invasive species cause significant impact that is potentially costly and time-consuming to address. Seeds are easily dispersed along linear routes such as highways and railways, and those that are spread by water cause significant problems for plants and wildlife along riverbanks and aquatic environments.

Using digital aerial surveys for mapping invasive plants

To tackle the spread of invasive species, we need to know where they are. Traditional, ground-based surveys can only be undertaken if an area is accessible by foot, and even then there is a risk of seeds being transferred through sites by people and vehicles.

APEM Inc’s ultra-high resolution aerial surveys are a non-intrusive way to map the location and extent of invasive plants. With specialist survey aircraft and state-of-the-art digital cameras fixed to gyro-stabilized mountings, we can survey large areas rapidly and cost-effectively to a resolution of up to 1.5cm per pixel.

Our innovative, specialist technical software geo-references the images to form detailed composite images, which are individually examined by our experienced image analysts. An overlaid algorithm allows us to automatically create maps showing the vegetation across the landscape, including the type and extent of invasive species.

Our landscape maps have proven useful for our clients, not only for the mitigation and management of established species. Where a smaller population is identified, our results provide an early warning for action and a lasting record for comparison with ongoing surveys.

For our clients in the Infrastructure and Utilities industries, the quality of our images makes it possible to identify and map cracks in concrete or tarmac and collapsed riverbanks or flood defenses. This allows them to be proactive in identifying and fixing upcoming issues, ultimately saving money and time.

Read one of APEM Group’s blogs, news articles or case studies to find out more.

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