Applications of remote sensing to alien invasive plant studies

Cho ying Huang, Gregory P. Asner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

209 Scopus citations


Biological invasions can affect ecosystems across a wide spectrum of bioclimatic conditions. Therefore, it is often important to systematically monitor the spread of species over a broad region. Remote sensing has been an important tool for large-scale ecological studies in the past three decades, but it was not commonly used to study alien invasive plants until the mid 1990s. We synthesize previous research efforts on remote sensing of invasive plants from spatial, temporal and spectral perspectives. We also highlight a recently developed state-of-the-art image fusion technique that integrates passive and active energies concurrently collected by an imaging spectrometer and a scanning-waveform light detection and ranging (LiDAR) system, respectively. This approach provides a means to detect the structure and functional properties of invasive plants of different canopy levels. Finally, we summarize regional studies of biological invasions using remote sensing, discuss the limitations of remote sensing approaches, and highlight current research needs and future directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4869-4889
Number of pages21
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Biological invasions
  • High spatial resolution
  • High temporal resolution
  • Hyperspectral remote sensing
  • Image fusion
  • Light detection and ranging (lidar)
  • Moderate spatial/spectral resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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