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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(6), 7545-7570;

A Dynamic Vegetation Senescence Indicator for Near-Real-Time Desert Locust Habitat Monitoring with MODIS

Earth and Life Institue - Environment, Université Catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 2, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Centre National de Lutte Antiacridienne, BP665 Nouakchott, Mauritania
Desert Locust Information Service, FAO/AGP, 00153 Rome, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alfredo R. Huete and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 10 February 2015 / Revised: 29 May 2015 / Accepted: 1 June 2015 / Published: 8 June 2015
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Desert locusts (Schistocerca gregaria) represent a major threat for agro-pastoral resources and food security over almost 30 million km2 from northern Africa to the Arabian peninsula and India. Given the differential food preferences of this insect pest and the extent and remoteness of the their distribution area, near-real-time remotely-sensed information on potential habitats support control operations by narrowing down field surveys to areas favorable for their development and prone to gregarization and outbreaks. The development of dynamic greenness maps, which detect the onset of photosynthetic vegetation, allowed national control centers to identify potential habitats to survey, as locusts prefer green and fresh vegetation. Their successful integration into the daily control operations led to a new need: the near-real-time identification of the onset of dryness, a synonym for the loss of habitat attractiveness, likely to be abandoned by locusts. The timely availability of this information would enable control centers to focus their surveys on areas more prone to gregarization, leading to more efficiency in the allocation of resources and in decision making. In this context, this work developed an original method to detect in near-real-time the onset of vegetation senescence. The design of the detection relies on the temporal behavior of two indices: the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, depending on the green vegetation, and the Normalized Difference Tillage Index, sensitive to both green and dry vegetation. The method is demonstrated in Mauritania, an ever-affected country, with 10-day MODIS mean composites for the years 2010 and 2011. The discrimination performance of three classes (“growth”, “density reduction” and “drying”) were analyzed for three classification methods: maximum likelihood (61.4% of overall accuracy), decision tree (71.5%) and support vector machine (72.3%). The classification accuracy is heterogeneous in both time and space and is affected by several factors, such as vegetation density, the north-south climatic gradient and the relief. Smoothing the vegetation time series resulted in an increase of the overall accuracy of about 5% at the expense of a loss in timeliness of ten days. To simulate near-real-time monitoring conditions, the decision tree was applied to the decade of 2010. Overall, the seasonal vegetation cycle appeared clear and consistent. The results obtained pave the way for an operational implementation of the senescence dynamic mapping and, consequently, to further strengthen the capacity of the locust control management. View Full-Text
Keywords: desert locust; dynamic mapping; senescence; near-real-time monitoring; habitat desert locust; dynamic mapping; senescence; near-real-time monitoring; habitat

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Renier, C.; Waldner, F.; Jacques, D.C.; Babah Ebbe, M.A.; Cressman, K.; Defourny, P. A Dynamic Vegetation Senescence Indicator for Near-Real-Time Desert Locust Habitat Monitoring with MODIS. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 7545-7570.

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