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Application of Remote Sensing Data for Locust Research and Management—A Review

German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD), German Aerospace Center (DLR), 82234 Wessling, Germany
Department of Geography, Kiel University, 24118 Kiel, Germany
Institute of Geography and Geology, University Wuerzburg, 97074 Wuerzburg, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alexandre V. Latchininsky
Insects 2021, 12(3), 233;
Received: 4 January 2021 / Revised: 10 February 2021 / Accepted: 25 February 2021 / Published: 9 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Locusts and Grasshoppers: Biology, Ecology and Management)
Locust outbreaks around the world regularly affect vast areas and millions of people. Mapping and monitoring locust habitats, as well as prediction of locust outbreaks is essential to minimize the damage on crops and pasture. In this context, remote sensing has become one of the most important data sources for effective locust management. This review paper summarizes remote sensing-based studies for locust management and research over the past four decades and reveals progress made and gaps for further research. We quantify which locust species, regions of interest, sensor data and variables were mainly used and which thematic foci were of interest. Our review shows that most studies were conducted for the desert locust, the migratory locust and Australian plague locust and corresponding areas of interest. Remote sensing studies for other destructive locust species are rather rare. Most studies utilized data from optical sensors to derive NDVI and land cover for mapping and monitoring the locust habitats. Furthermore, temperature, precipitation and soil moisture are derived from thermal infrared, passive and active radar sensors. Applications of the European Sentinel fleet, entire Landsat archive or very-high-spatial-resolution data are rare. Implementing new methods (e.g., data fusion) and additional data sources could provide new insights for locust research and management.
Recently, locust outbreaks around the world have destroyed agricultural and natural vegetation and caused massive damage endangering food security. Unusual heavy rainfalls in habitats of the desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) and lack of monitoring due to political conflicts or inaccessibility of those habitats lead to massive desert locust outbreaks and swarms migrating over the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa, India and Pakistan. At the same time, swarms of the Moroccan locust (Dociostaurus maroccanus) in some Central Asian countries and swarms of the Italian locust (Calliptamus italicus) in Russia and China destroyed crops despite developed and ongoing monitoring and control measurements. These recent events underline that the risk and damage caused by locust pests is as present as ever and affects 100 million of human lives despite technical progress in locust monitoring, prediction and control approaches. Remote sensing has become one of the most important data sources in locust management. Since the 1980s, remote sensing data and applications have accompanied many locust management activities and contributed to an improved and more effective control of locust outbreaks and plagues. Recently, open-access remote sensing data archives as well as progress in cloud computing provide unprecedented opportunity for remote sensing-based locust management and research. Additionally, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems bring up new prospects for a more effective and faster locust control. Nevertheless, the full capacity of available remote sensing applications and possibilities have not been exploited yet. This review paper provides a comprehensive and quantitative overview of international research articles focusing on remote sensing application for locust management and research. We reviewed 110 articles published over the last four decades, and categorized them into different aspects and main research topics to summarize achievements and gaps for further research and application development. The results reveal a strong focus on three species—the desert locust, the migratory locust (Locusta migratoria), and the Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera)—and corresponding regions of interest. There is still a lack of international studies for other pest species such as the Italian locust, the Moroccan locust, the Central American locust (Schistocerca piceifrons), the South American locust (Schistocerca cancellata), the brown locust (Locustana pardalina) and the red locust (Nomadacris septemfasciata). In terms of applied sensors, most studies utilized Advanced Very-High-Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre VEGETATION (SPOT-VGT), Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) as well as Landsat data focusing mainly on vegetation monitoring or land cover mapping. Application of geomorphological metrics as well as radar-based soil moisture data is comparably rare despite previous acknowledgement of their importance for locust outbreaks. Despite great advance and usage of available remote sensing resources, we identify several gaps and potential for future research to further improve the understanding and capacities of the use of remote sensing in supporting locust outbreak- research and management. View Full-Text
Keywords: locust monitoring; locust outbreak; remote sensing; locust habitat; locust pest locust monitoring; locust outbreak; remote sensing; locust habitat; locust pest
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MDPI and ACS Style

Klein, I.; Oppelt, N.; Kuenzer, C. Application of Remote Sensing Data for Locust Research and Management—A Review. Insects 2021, 12, 233.

AMA Style

Klein I, Oppelt N, Kuenzer C. Application of Remote Sensing Data for Locust Research and Management—A Review. Insects. 2021; 12(3):233.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Klein, Igor, Natascha Oppelt, and Claudia Kuenzer. 2021. "Application of Remote Sensing Data for Locust Research and Management—A Review" Insects 12, no. 3: 233.

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