We test the use of hyperspectral sensors for the early detection of the invasive dense-flowered cordgrass (Spartina densiflora
Brongn.) in the Guadalquivir River marshes, Southwestern Spain. We flew in tandem a CASI-1500 (368–1052 nm) and an AHS (430–13,000 nm) airborne sensors in an area with presence of S. densiflora
. We simplified the processing of hyperspectral data (no atmospheric correction and no data-reduction techniques) to test if these treatments were necessary for accurate S. densiflora
detection in the area. We tested several statistical signal detection algorithms implemented in ENVI software as spectral target detection techniques (matched filtering, constrained energy minimization, orthogonal subspace projection, target-constrained interference minimized filter, and adaptive coherence estimator) and compared them to the well-known spectral angle mapper, using spectra extracted from ground-truth locations in the images. The target S. densiflora
was easy to detect in the marshes by all algorithms in images of both sensors. The best methods (adaptive coherence estimator and target-constrained interference minimized filter) on the best sensor (AHS) produced 100% discrimination (Kappa = 1, AUC = 1) at the study site and only some decline in performance when extrapolated to a new nearby area. AHS outperformed CASI in spite of having a coarser spatial resolution (4-m vs. 1-m) and lower spectral resolution in the visible and near-infrared range, but had a better signal to noise ratio. The larger spectral range of AHS in the short-wave and thermal infrared was of no particular advantage. Our conclusions are that it is possible to use hyperspectral sensors to map the early spread S. densiflora
in the Guadalquivir River marshes. AHS is the most suitable airborne hyperspectral sensor for this task and the signal processing techniques target-constrained interference minimized filter (TCIMF) and adaptive coherence estimator (ACE) are the best performing target detection techniques that can be employed operationally with a simplified processing of hyperspectral images.
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