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Mapping of Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) with Landsat Imagery

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

David A. Hill
Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, 506 West Burnside Road, Victoria, British Columbia V6M 1M5, Canada
Raj Prasad
Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, 506 West Burnside Road, Victoria, British Columbia V6M 1M5, Canada
Donald G. Leckie*
Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, 506 West Burnside Road, Victoria, British Columbia V6M 1M5, Canada
Corresponding author's E-mail:


Methods were developed and tested for mapping the distribution of Scotch broom, an invasive shrub species expanding its range and disrupting native species and habitats in several parts of the world. During spring, the Scotch broom produces yellow flowers. Landsat imagery during the flower bloom period and during summer was acquired for several years for a study area on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Ground-based reflectance measurements plus statistical separability tests were conducted to determine the effectiveness for identifying Scotch broom with Landsat spectral bands, band ratios, vegetation indices, and combinations of bloom and nonbloom imagery. Maximum likelihood classifications of three Scotch broom density classes (dense, ≥ 75% cover; moderate, 25 to 75%; low, 10 to 25%) and other land covers were run with various image and band sets and tested against independent reference sites. Accuracies of classifications using the better band combinations for moderate and dense Scotch broom patches combined were on the order of 80%, with unreliable results for sites of low Scotch broom density. Scotch broom patches less than 0.5 ha were often missed. Some commission error occurred (areas erroneously classified as Scotch broom). Suggested improvements are the use of time series of classifications over multiple years, incorporating knowledge of Scotch broom spread mechanisms or temperature and elevation limitations, and use of higher resolution satellites if the expense warrants it. Despite some limitations, a satellite-based remote sensing approach may be useful for aspects of Scotch broom management.

Se desarrollaron y evaluaron métodos para mapear la distribución de Cytisus scoparius, una especie invasivas de arbusto que está expandiendo su área de influencia y está perturbando especies nativas y hábitats en varias partes del mundo. Durante la primavera, C. scofparius produce flores amarillas. Imágenes Landsat durante el período de floración y durante el verano fueron adquiridas durante varios años para un área de estudio en la isla de Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Mediciones terrestres de reflectancia más pruebas estadísticas de separabilidad fueron realizadas para determinar la efectividad de identificar C. scoparius con bandas espectrales Landsat, ratios de bandas, índices de vegetación, y combinaciones de imágenes con y sin floración. Clasificaciones de probabilidad máxima de tres clases de densidad de C. scoparius (densa, ≥ 75% de cobertura; moderada, 25 a 75%; baja, 10 a 25%) y otras coberturas del terreno fueron analizadas con varias imágenes y sets de bandas y evaluadas contra sitios de referencia independientes. La exactitud de las clasificaciones usando las mejores combinaciones de bandas para combinados de parches de C. scoparius moderados y densos estuvieron en el orden de 80%, con resultados no confiables para sitios con densidades bajas de C. scoparius. Los parches de C. scoparius de menos de 0.5 ha frecuentemente no fueron identificados. Ocurrieron algunos errores de asignación (áreas erróneamente clasificadas como C. scoparius). Las mejoras sugeridas son el uso de series temporales de clasificaciones a lo largo de múltiples años, incorporando el conocimiento de los mecanismos de dispersión de C. scoparius o limitaciones de temperatura o elevación, y el uso de satélites de alta resolución, si el costo lo amerita. A pesar de algunas limitaciones, un sistema remoto basado en imágenes satelitales podría ser útil para aspectos de manejo de C. scoparius.

Research Article
Copyright © Weed Science Society of America 

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Associate Editor for this paper: Andrew Kniss, University of Wyoming.


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