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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(1), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10010070

Mapping Wild Leek through the Forest Canopy Using a UAV

1
Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, 60 University Private, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
2
Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics, University of Ottawa, 60 University Private, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 October 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 3 January 2018 / Published: 6 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation)
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Abstract

Wild leek, an endangered plant species of Eastern North America, grows on forest floors and greens up to approximately three weeks before the trees it is typically found under, temporarily allowing it to be observed through the canopy by remote sensing instruments. This paper explores the accuracy with which wild leek can be mapped with a low-flying UAV. Nadir video imagery was obtained using a commercial UAV during the spring of 2017 in Gatineau Park, Quebec. Point clouds were generated from the video frames with the Structure-from-Motion framework, and a multiscale curvature classification was used to separate points on the ground, where wild leek grows, from above-ground points belonging to the forest canopy. Five-cm resolution orthomosaics were created from the ground points, and a threshold value of 0.350 for the green chromatic coordinate (GCC) was applied to delineate wild leek from wood, leaves, and other plants on the forest floor, with an F1-score of 0.69 and 0.76 for two different areas. The GCC index was most effective in delineating bigger patches, and therefore often misclassified patches smaller than 30 cm in diameter. Although short flight times and long data processing times are presently technical challenges to upscaling, the low cost and high accuracy of UAV imagery provides a promising method for monitoring the spatial distribution of this endangered species. View Full-Text
Keywords: unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV); wild leek; Structure from Motion (SfM) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV); wild leek; Structure from Motion (SfM)
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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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Leduc, M.-B.; Knudby, A.J. Mapping Wild Leek through the Forest Canopy Using a UAV. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 70.

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